Diplomatic relations are set up between two bodies of government. Taiwan’s government is the Republic of China so the terms will be used interchangeably. However, it is a point that there are no countries in the world that recognize “Taiwan” as Taiwan is not a government.
How Many Countries Officially Recognize Taiwan?
When the Republic of China was formed in 1912, it retained the relations of the previous Qing Dynasty. However, since 1949, when the Republic of China fled mainland China to Taiwan, many nations have changed their recognition to People’s Republic of China.
The government of Taiwan, the Republic of China, has diplomatic relations with 17 countries:
- Vatican City
- Marshall Islands
- Solomon Islands
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and Grenadines
- Central America
- South America
Why Can’t Countries Recognize Both Taiwan and China?
Due to the One China Policy, countries can only either recognize Republic of China (Taiwan) or the People’s Republic of China (China) as the sole representative of China.
Does This Mean Taiwan Has No Relations With Most Countries in the World?
Taiwan maintain unofficial diplomatic relations with 47 nations. Representation at these locations cannot be called embassies as that would represent an official representation. Taiwan’s representation at these nations are by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.
Update (8/20/2018): El Salvador broke diplomatic relations with Republic of China