Today, only 14 countries recognize Taiwan.

What's the maximum number of countries that recognized Taiwan at any given time?

  • 7
    By "Taiwan", do you mean "Republic of China". Would recognition of the RoC while it was the principle government of China, count? What about the period 1921-1949?
    – James K
    Commented Dec 19, 2021 at 7:19
  • 1
    No, I mean Taiwan - the country located on the island
    – Joe Jobs
    Commented Dec 19, 2021 at 16:53
  • 9
    @JoeJobs The official name of that country is Republic of China and to some extent and to very recent times to a complete extent it claims(ed) to be the only legitimate government of the single unified China, just like the communist government in Peking, not a separate island country. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_status_of_Taiwan Be aware that this status is also enforced by the communist government in Peking because it threatens by an invasion if Taiwan declares independence from China. Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 8:23
  • 4
    The consequence is that it is hard for other countries to recognize an independent country of Taiwan, when the country does not declare independence in the first place. Recognizing the Taipei government as the legitimate government of the single China then makes the communist government in Peking illegitimate. Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 8:26
  • btw: a great many people are aware that Taiwan is a country even if there is no official document saying so Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia has a table showing the number of countries recognising the Republic of China (ROC, modern-day Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China (PRC, modern-day China) respectively.

Number of countries recognising ROC and PRC

Year Recognition of ROC[115] Recognition of PRC
1969 71 48
1971 68 53
1973 31 89
1978 21 112
1986 23 134
1990 28 139
2012 23 172
2013 22 172
2016 21 174
2017 20 175
2018 17 178
2019 15 180
2021 14 181[note 3]

And here's a timeline of diplomatic relations of the Republic of China from Wikipedia.

It's worth noting that the United Nations switched recognition from the ROC to the PRC in 1971 and before that, most countries recognised the ROC as the legitimate government of China, explaining the large number of diplomatic recognitions of the ROC then.

  • 1
    the balance changed between 1971 and 1973. What events could have impacted the drastic swing of the international political pendulum within those 2 years?
    – lurscher
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 16:45
  • 2
    @lurscher In short, PRC had a fallout with the Soviet Union, and the Nixon government thought it might be wise to try to win PRC over or at least pull it away from the Soviet Union as much as possible. This was an important catalyst of the switching of the recognition in the UN from ROC to PRC (of course there were also other factors). Now the US might lament it as a huge mistake, though it was an important turning point for PRC to later naturally assert itself as an important international power ("China" has a seat in the security council, and with the switch it naturally fell to PRC)
    – xji
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 18:56
  • It was a really interesting event. There's a WP page for summary en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… and surely there're many more detailed accounts. Now the US doesn't want to talk about it much, in part because it was such a blatant betrayal of an ally... (the ROC representative literally walked out of the UN venue in protest), which it did a lot anyways, especially during that time. (Though to be fair the US also didn't expect the situation to come to a complete expulsion of ROC, as it supported a less radical motion than what was passed in the end)
    – xji
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 19:15
  • @wji is hard not to think that the stereotype of republicans being appeasers has a long tradition
    – lurscher
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 20:18
  • 1
    Some important context missing from this answer is that the "Republic of China" and the "People's Republic of China" are the same country. They're different governments, but (at least in theory) lay claim to the same territory.
    – Mark
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 21:35

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