Countries That Recognize Taiwan 2022

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Taiwan, officially named the Republic of China (RoC), is a multi-island territory in the western Pacific Ocean. Its de facto capital, Taipei, serves as the seat of government and is the island's largest metropolitan area. Taiwan is approximately 36,197 square kilometers (13,976 square miles) in area and 23.78 million people. Its official language is Mandarin, also known as Standard Chinese.

Is Taiwan a country?

This straightforward question has a remarkably complicated answer. Taiwan has alternated from nation to territory to nation and back again throughout its history. As of 2022, the simplest answer is "it depends whom you ask." To be considered a country in today's global political sphere, a territory must be diplomatically recognized by the 193 member states (countries) of the United Nations—and while some 13 countries (and Vatican City/Holy See) do recognize Taiwan as of April 2022, many others do not. As a result, although Taiwan was recognized as a country by the United Nations from 1949 to 1971, it is currently not in the UN and is classified as only a territory—all due to a particularly prickly political situation with China.

Countries that Recognize Taiwan as a Sovereign Country - 2021

As of April 2022, 13 countries and Vatican City/Holy See have recognized Taiwan as a sovereign country:

Country Year Relations
Belize 1989-present
Guatemala 1933-present
Haiti 1956-present
Holy See (Vatican City) 1942-present
Honduras 1985-present
Marshall Islands 1998-present
Nauru 1980-2002, 2005-present
Palau 1999-present
Paraguay 1957-present
Saint Kitts and Nevis 1983-present
Saint Lucia 1984-1997, 2007-present
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1981-present
Tuvalu 1979-present

The United States maintained Taiwan's recognition for 30 years after the Chinese civil war but switched in 1979. Despite this, the U.S. has maintained a positive relationship with Taiwan, including offering the island military assistance, a move that has caused tension between the U.S. and China. In 2019, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands both switched their recognition from Taiwan to China within a week. Most recently, Nicaragua rescinded its recognition of Taiwan in December 2021. As a result, only Vatican City and 13 of the 193 UN countries recognize Taiwan as of 2022.

The historical reason Taiwan is not considered a country

Taiwan was self-governing until the 1600s. During the 17th century, it spent time as a colony of the Netherlands, then regained its independence before being taken over again—this time by China, which ruled the island for two centuries. This lasted until 1875, when Japan gained control of Taiwan after the First Sino-Japanese War, making Taiwan a Japanese colony. Following Japan's defeat in World War II, Taiwan was returned to Chinese control in 1945. Also in 1945, China—officially titled the Republic of China (RoC) at the time—became a founding member of the United Nations.

However, China was in the midst of a civil war. In 1949, China's ruling nationalist government was driven off of the Chinese mainland by the armies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The nationalist government then fled to Taiwan (along with more than a million other Chinese citizens). The fighting between the two sides ended in a stalemate, with the CCP controlling the mainland, renamed the People's Republic of China (PRC), and the nationalists clinging to Taiwan—which they still called the Republic of China, or RoC. Although fighting ceased in 1979, the conflict was never declared officially over and no peace treaty has ever been signed.

More importantly to the question of Taiwan's nationhood, both governments claimed to be the one true Chinese government. As the pre-existing (though deposed) Chinese government, the nationalist government of Taiwan was initially considered the legitimate government of China. Taiwan was given China's seat at the United Nations and was diplomatically recognized by many U.N. member nations.

Over time, however, the communist CCP government ruling mainland China established a convincing claim that it, not the nationlist government in exile in Taiwan, was in fact the legitimate government of China. The CCP's strongest evidence was the fact that more than 98% of Chinese citizens lived on the mainland—roughly 540 million in 1950, compared to only 8 million in Taiwan.

In light of this fact, and the increasing evidence that the RoC was in no position to regain control of the mainland, most countries in the U.N. eventually switched their diplomatic recognition from the RoC in Taiwan to the PRC on mainland China. This included countries such as the United States, which originally sided with the RoC and Taiwan. As a result, the United Nations expelled Taiwan in 1971 and instead recognized the CCP/PRC as the official government of China.

How China prevents Taiwan from being recognized as a country

In most circumstances, Taiwan would simply become its own country, independent of the rest of China. However, while Taiwan met most of the eight essential qualifications for nationhood, there remained one major complication: One of the required steps for a territory to be promoted to full U.N. member status (widely considered the most important step in officially becoming a sovereign nation), is to be approved by the U.N. Security Council. In particular, a country must be recognized by all five permanent members of the council: Russia, the United States, France, the United Kingdom ... and China, which uses its position to block any attempt by Taiwan to ascend to full member status.

Communist China's stance on Taiwan

Since the unofficial end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, China has considered Taiwan to be a rebel region that must be reunited with the mainland. China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, espousing what is known as the "One-China policy". Two parts of this policy are particularly impactful.

First, China asserts that any effort put forth by the Taiwanese government to establish its independence will be met by the threat of invasion. Secondly, China's official stance is that no nation may conduct official diplomatic relations with both China and Taiwan. Each country must choose one or the other. This is one of the major reasons that only 13 nations and the Holy See officially recognize Taiwan/RoC as an independent nation. Therefore, the problem is not that other nations do not consider Taiwan a country; it is that they can only recognize either China or Taiwan, and most countries choose China due to its greater political and economic prominence.

Taiwan's stance on communist China:

The citizens of Taiwan tend to fall into two camps regarding the territory's relationship with China: the Pan-Blue Coalition and the Pan-Green Coalition.

The Pan-Blue Coalition has its own One-China policy and believes the RoC is the sole legal government of China (including both Taiwan and the mainland). While the Pan-Blue Coalition initially supported reunification, its stance has changed in recent years to simply maintaining the status quo. The Pan-Green Coalition regards Taiwan as an independent sovereign state, opposes reunification with China (unless China's communist government collapses), and seeks wide diplomatic recognition for Taiwan as its own sovereign nation.

Taiwan's place on the global stage

Despite China's efforts to restrict its economic and political growth, Taiwan has become one of Asia's major economic players and one of the world's top computer technology producers. Some 59 countries (as well as the European Union, Hong Kong, and Macau) have established unofficial diplomatic relations with Taiwan/RoC, including the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

Taiwan is also considered a democracy and is consistently ranked as one of the freest countries in Asia by metrics such as the 2021 Freedom House Freedom Index, the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, and the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom.

Countries That Recognize Taiwan 2022

Note: In instances in which an official diplomatic relationship (i.e.: recognition) has been established, severed, and re-established, only the initial establishment date and the most recent severance date are used.
Country Currently Recognizes? Date Relations Established Date Relations Severed
GuatemalaYes1933ongoing
HaitiYes1956ongoing
HondurasYes1985ongoing
ParaguayYes1957ongoing
BelizeYes1989ongoing
Saint LuciaYes2007ongoing
Saint Vincent And the GrenadinesYes1981ongoing
Marshall IslandsYes1998ongoing
Saint Kitts And NevisYes1983ongoing
PalauYes1999ongoing
TuvaluYes1979ongoing
NauruYes2005ongoing
Vatican CityYes1942ongoing
IndiaNo19471949
United StatesNo19281979
PakistanNo19471950
BrazilNo19281974
RussiaNo19291949
MexicoNo19281971
JapanNo19301972
PhilippinesNo19471975
EgyptNo19421956
DR CongoNo19601973
TurkeyNo19341971
GermanyNo19551972
ThailandNo19461975
United KingdomNo19281950
FranceNo19281964
South AfricaNo19121998
ItalyNo19281970
ColombiaNo19411980
South KoreaNo19491992
SpainNo19281973
ArgentinaNo19451972
IraqNo19421958
AfghanistanNo19441950
CanadaNo19411970
PolandNo19291949
Saudi ArabiaNo19461990
PeruNo19131971
MalaysiaNo19641974
VenezuelaNo19411974
MadagascarNo19601972
CameroonNo19601971
Ivory CoastNo19631983
NigerNo19631996
AustraliaNo19411972
Burkina FasoNo19612018
MalawiNo19662008
ChileNo19151971
EcuadorNo19461971
SenegalNo19602005
ChadNo19622006
NetherlandsNo19281950
CambodiaNo19531975
RwandaNo19621972
BoliviaNo19191985
BelgiumNo19281971
CubaNo19131960
Dominican RepublicNo19412018
Czech RepublicNo19301949
GreeceNo19291972
JordanNo19571977
SwedenNo19281950
PortugalNo19281975
Papua New GuineaNo19991999
AustriaNo19281971
SwitzerlandNo19131950
TogoNo19601972
Sierra LeoneNo19631971
LaosNo19581962
LibyaNo19591978
NicaraguaNo19302021
LebanonNo19541971
El SalvadorNo19412018
DenmarkNo19281950
Republic of the CongoNo19601964
FinlandNo19191944
NorwayNo19281950
LiberiaNo19572003
Costa RicaNo19412007
Central African RepublicNo19621998
MauritaniaNo19601965
New ZealandNo19121972
PanamaNo19122017
KuwaitNo19631971
UruguayNo19571988
JamaicaNo19621972
GambiaNo19682013
BotswanaNo19661974
GabonNo19601974
LesothoNo19661994
Guinea BissauNo19901998
LatviaNo19361994
EstoniaNo19371940
CyprusNo19601972
Solomon IslandsNo19832019
LuxembourgNo19491972
MaldivesNo19661972
MaltaNo19671972
BahamasNo19891997
VanuatuNo20042004
BarbadosNo19671977
Sao Tome And PrincipeNo19972016
KiribatiNo20032019
GrenadaNo19892005
TongaNo19721998
DominicaNo19832004

Countries That Recognize Taiwan 2022

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