Taiwan. According to COUNTRYAAH, Taipei is the capital of Taiwan which is located in Eastern Asia. Chen Shuibian, President 2000-08, who along with his wife were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009 for, among other things, fraud and bribery, was released conditionally in January for health reasons. The president has previously hunger strikes in prison. The same month, the mayor of New Taibei special municipality, Eric Chu, was elected new party chairman in the ruling Nationalist Party (Guomindang). In October, Chu was launched as the party’s candidate in the presidential election scheduled for January 2016. Thus, the previously appointed candidate Hung Hsui-chu was pushed aside with the motivation that since the July nomination she had failed to reduce the distance in opinion polls to Tsai Ing-wen, who appointed Presidential candidate for the Democratic Progress Party (DFP).
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In April, a meeting was held between Chu and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. This was the first time in six years that representatives at this high level met. In November, the meeting was followed by a historic one when the two countries’ presidents Xi and Ma Yingjeou met in Singapore. This was the first meeting of China’s and Taiwan’s presidents of more than 60 years and a great prestige success for Ma, who has long sought such a meeting. Because of the strong opposition, especially among young Taiwanese people, to a rapprochement with mainland China, it was decided before the meeting that this would only be a dialogue about continued peaceful relations without making any agreements. In December, however, the Beijing government expressed sharp criticism since the US decided to sell weapons to Taiwan, including two warships and advanced weapons systems.
In July, the Ministry of Education stormed at least 200 students who objected to a decision to rewrite textbooks. In addition to the actual content of the new formulations, the students were strongly critical of how the decision on deletions and supplements came about, an approach they judged as undemocratic.
Exceptionally rapid economic development
Taiwan’s economic development was facilitated by the modernization of agriculture during the Japanese occupation and the gold reserves brought by Kuomintang while fleeing China. As late as the 1960s, Taiwan also received a wealth of development aid, especially from the United States. Exports of agricultural products pulled, and already in the 1960s the country’s foreign exchange reserves had grown so large that there was enough to invest in both steel production and the shipbuilding and electronics industries. Thus, by the next decade, a modern industrialized state had hatched from an agricultural-dominated society.
In the 1980s, Taiwan began investing in high technology, and soon more and more quality consumer goods were labeled “Made in Taiwan”. Together with Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, Taiwan belongs to the so-called To the “Asian tigers,” which rocketed into the ranks of the world’s most advanced economies and richest countries.
Taiwan’s economy has a liberal and capitalist approach, and has recorded continuous successes from the 1980s onwards. The substantial support of the United States and the abundance of labor, characterized by very low wages despite a high level of specialization, have allowed a great development of manufacturing activities. The increase in production records continuous growth (9 % per year); the island is part, with Singapore, the Republic of Korea and the former British colony of Hong Kong, of the group of ‘ 4Asian tigers’, all characterized by a rather high average annual income and a high standard of living. To decrease the dependence of exported products from crises in international markets and to further promote the country’s economy, the government in 1995 launched a new program under the APROC (Asia-Pacific Regional Operations Center), which is expected to enter in operation by 2000. This program concerns the development of high-tech productions, the enhancement of financial and telecommunications services, the improvement of infrastructures and air and sea transport.
Agriculture is very diversified and practiced with modern methods, and its main product is rice, the basis of the local diet; farming and, above all, fishing are also practiced with modern technologies: deep sea fishing has supplanted traditional coastal fishing and allows the country a substantial export of fish products.
From an energy point of view, the island can only count on limited quantities of oil, natural gas and coal, the production of which is also in decline due to the costs of extraction. The 16 % of the installed capacity is hydroelectric origin, but it is mainly the thermoelectric power plants (fueled by oil imported for a value equal to 3, 7 % of total imports) to cover the 54 % of the electricity demand of the country, while the 6 nuclear power plants in service provide a contribution equal to 11 %.
The industry is developed above all in the most advanced technologies, such as electronics and precision mechanics (there are also chemical, textile, food, steel and metallurgical, rubber and other industries: there are few production sectors not represented in Taiwan), and now enjoys international prestige. The most important industrial districts are the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park, 80 km southwest of Taipei, founded in 1980 and also known as the Silicon Valley of nationalist China due to the presence of electronic industries of global importance, and that of Linyuan, on the west coast, in the southern section of the island. The development of industries has created serious environmental problems, with high pollution of the atmosphere, particularly in urban districts, and of inland waters. Communications inland are excellent, with the Sun Yat-Sen Highway, which runs into the western plain, and the East-West Cross Island Highway, which connects the two coasts via Taroko Gorge.
Taiwan has considerable capital that is also invested abroad: part of it, through the coverage of Hong Kong banks, has been invested in the People’s Republic of China, with which, despite official declarations, it maintains continuous business relationships: indirect trade between the two countries is of the order of $ 20billion a year. In 1997Taiwan reached a surplus amounted to 14.4 billion dollars in the trade balance and at 7, 8 billion dollars in the balance of payments.
On 20 September 1999 the central areas of Taiwan were hit by a violent earthquake (magnitude 7.6) which was followed by other tremors in the following days and which caused over 2000 victims.