Where and what is Taipei?
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as Taiwan, and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean. Another coastal city, Tamsui, is about 20 km northwest at the river's mouth on the Taiwan Strait. It lies in the two relatively narrow valleys of the Keelung and Xindian rivers, which join to form the Tamsui River along the city's western border.
The city proper (Taipei City) is home to an estimated 2,618,772 people. Taipei, New Taipei, and Keelung together form the Taipei metropolitan area with a population of 6,900,273. However, they are administered under different local governing bodies. "Taipei" sometimes refers to the whole metropolitan area, while "Taipei City" refers to the city proper. Taipei City proper is surrounded on all sides by New Taipei.
Taipei is the political, economic, and cultural center of Taiwan. The National Palace Museum which has one of the largest collections of Chinese artifacts and artworks in the world is located in Taipei. Considered to be a global city, Taipei is part of a major industrial area. Railways, high speed rail, highways, airports, and bus lines connect Taipei with all parts of the island. The city is served by two airports – Taipei Songshan and Taiwan Taoyuan.
Taipei was founded in the early 18th century and became an important center for overseas trade in the 19th century. The Qing Dynasty in China made Taipei the provincial capital of Taiwan in 1886.
When the Japanese acquired Taiwan in 1895 after the First Sino-Japanese War, they retained Taipei as the capital of the island, and also advanced an extensive urban planning in Taipei.
The Republic of China took over the island in 1945 following Japanese surrender. After losing Mainland China to the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War, the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) resettled the ROC government to Taiwan and declared Taipei the provisional capital of the Republic of China in December 1949.
Republic of China (aka Taiwan)
The Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as Taiwan, is a sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan, which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor islands. Neighboring states include the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the west, Japan to the east and northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Its capital city is Taipei.
The Republic of China, established in mainland China in 1912, is the oldest surviving republic in East Asia. As the legal successor state of the Qing dynasty, most of mainland China was governed by the Republic of China (without the island of Taiwan, which was under Japanese rule) after Chiang Kai-shek-led Kuomintang reunified China in 1928. Taiwan and accompanying islands were subsequently surrendered to Republic of China rule from the Empire of Japan at the end of World War II in late 1945, when both mainland China and Taiwan come under the ROC rule for four years until 1949.
Since the ROC's loss of its mainland territory following the Chinese Civil War and the founding of the Chinese Communist Party-led People's Republic of China (PRC) on mainland China in 1949, the ROC and the PRC have been claiming to represent all of "China" respectively, and both officially claim each other's territory. The PRC claims to be the successor state of the ROC and therefore claims Taiwan and other ROC-held areas as part of its territory which, along with mainland China, under Chinese sovereignty. Similarly, the ROC also officially claims sovereignty over "all China" under its constitution; although in practice, the ROC government has ceased to actively pursue this stance since 1992.
This ongoing dispute over the claim and legitimacy of "China" and also the sovereignty over Taiwan is a lingering issue from the unresolved Chinese Civil War which forms part of the complex political status of Taiwan. The tension between the two Chinas colors most of the political life in Taiwan, and any move towards "Taiwan independence" is met by threat of military attack from the PRC.
The PRC's official policy is to reunify Taiwan and mainland China under the formula of "one country, two systems" and refuses to renounce the use of military force, especially should Taiwan seek a declaration of independence.
The political environment in Taiwan is generally divided into two major camps in terms of views on how Taiwan/Republic of China should relate to PRC/Mainland China, which is referred to as Cross-Strait relations, is a main political discrepancy between two camps: the Pan-Blue Coalition (majority Kuomintang) believes that the ROC is the sole legitimate government of "China" but supports eventual Chinese reunification under the terms of 1992 Consensus, which defines the One China Principle. The opposition Pan-Green Coalition (majority Democratic Progressive Party) regards Taiwan as an independent, sovereign state synonymous with the ROC, opposes the notion that Taiwan is part of "China", and seeks wide diplomatic recognition and an eventual declaration of formal Taiwan independence.
A single-party state under the Kuomintang lasting from 1928, in the 1980s and 1990s the Republic of China evolved into a multi-party democracy. It has a presidential system and universal suffrage. The president serves as the head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The Legislative Yuan is the ROC's unicameral legislature. During the latter half of the twentieth century, the Republic of China on Taiwan experienced rapid economic growth, industrialization, and democratization. The ROC is a member of the WTO and APEC. It is one of the Four Asian Tigers, and it has an industrialized advanced economy. The 19th-largest economy in the world, its advanced technology industry plays a key role in the global economy. The ROC is ranked highly in terms of freedom of the press, health care, public education, economic freedom, and human development
From the Taipei Times: Council launches volcano research center in Datun
The National Science Council’s Taiwan Volcano Observatory Datun (TVO), an observation and research center to monitor volcanic activity at Datun Mountain in Taipei, was officially launched at the Jingshan Nature Center yesterday.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of the Interior Lin Tzu-ling said that although geological research reports showed that the Datun volcano group had not erupted for a very long time, observations and analyses in the past decade have shown that they could be dormant active volcanoes.
The government therefore asked the council to set up the observatory to serve as a volcanic data integration platform, combining various pieces of information collected by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Central Geological Survey, the Central Weather Bureau, Academia Sinica and other academic units, she said.
Lin Cheng-horng, director of the Taiwan Volcano Observatory project and a research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Earth Sciences, said that in the initial stage the observatory would monitor earthquakes, movements of the earth’s crust, earth temperature and fumarole images, as well as analyze geochemical aspects, including volcanic gas and water from hot springs.
The observatory can simulate the range of tephra — debris spewed out during a volcanic eruption — according to location and the direction of the wind during each season, he said.
Yang Tsan-yao, a professor at National Taiwan University’s Department of Geosciences, said there are various levels of indicators for volcanic eruptions, such as changes in temperature, particles in water from hot springs and gas releases, that can be observed weeks or months before an eruption, as well as movement of the earth’s crust during the days before an eruption.
Lin said that Yang’s studies on helium isotopes in the fumarole and hot spring gases from the Datun volcano group indicated that 60 percent of the gas was derived from the earth’s core, suggesting that there may be a magma chamber under northern Taiwan.
They said evidence showed that the Datun volcano group probably last erupted between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago.
National Science Council Deputy Minister Chen Cheng-hong said that while most people see volcanic eruptions as terrifying, they can also be objects of beauty, such as eruptions in Hawaii.
However, understanding the phenomenon before it occurs is important to avoid disaster.
Eruptions can be roughly predicted through an analysis of integrated data and can give enough of a warning so that precautionary actions can be taken, he said.
Six personnel will man the observatory on a daily basis and if they observe irregular patterns that indicate a possible eruption, a response task force would be assembled to assess the situation, Chen said.
Lin said they plan to add additional monitoring methods to improve the data, such as electromagnetic studies and satellite images.