Political status of Taiwan

The controversy regarding the political status of Taiwan, sometimes referred to as the Taiwan Issue or Taiwan Strait Issue or, from a Taiwanese perspective, as the mainland Issue, is a result of the Chinese Civil War and the subsequent split of China into the two present-day self-governing entities of the People's Republic of China (PRC; commonly known as China) and the Republic of China (ROC; commonly known as Taiwan).

The issue hinges on whether the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu should remain the territory of the ROC as an effectively separate self-governing entity; become part of the PRC under the existing communist government; convert the ROC to a new "Republic of Taiwan"; unite with the mainland under the ROC government (after the dissolution of the PRC government); or merge with the mainland under newly formed alternative (federal) government (such as Federal Republic of China or United States of China)[citation needed].

This controversy also concerns whether the existence and legal status as a sovereign state of both the ROC and the PRC is legitimate as a matter of international law.

The status quo is accepted in large part because it does not define the legal or future status of Taiwan, leaving each group to interpret the situation in a way that is politically acceptable to its members. At the same time, a policy of status quo has been criticized as being dangerous precisely because different sides have different interpretations of what the status quo is, leading to the possibility of war through brinkmanship or miscalculation. The PRC seeks the end of Taiwan's de facto independence through the process of reunification, and has not ruled out the use of force in pursuit of this goal.[1]