Geography


Taiwan is about 160 km across the Taiwan straits from the Fujian province of China. It is 394 kilometers (245 miles)long and 144 kilometers (89.5 miles)wide. it's smaller than Florida!

Mountains are located in the center of Taiwan. They are extremely high, reaching 3952 meters at Yushan (Mt. Jade). Yushan is the highest mountain in Northeast Asia. It is higher than Japan's well-known Mt. Fuji.

The mountains rise out of the sea on Taiwan's east coast. Only 10% of a population of 21 million people lives here. However, the mountainous eastern side has more beautiful scenery than the west side. The west side is a flat and fertile plain. Ninety percent of the population resides here. It is quite developed -- and polluted.

There are a number of smaller islands around Taiwan which are under Taiwan's sovereignty. Three islands, Kinmen, Matsu and Wuchiu, serve as front line military bases.

Taiwan, like other Asian countries, claims sovereignty to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea . The Spratly Islands are located some distance from the larger land masses of South-East Asia. Malaysia, China, Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam also lay claim to the islands. Those countries back their claims with military facilities like airstrips and armed forces on some of the islands. For example, Taiwan has a military base on the largest islet in the Spratly chain.

The Spratly Islands are so popular because of the possibility of rich gas and oil underneath the waters. The involving countries have finally agreed upon a "joint development" of the Spratly Islands.


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