In the absence of embassies in each other's territories, which organizations serve as the conduit for communication between China and Taiwan? Do they have an institution or organizations that serve as an embassy? Taiwan only has embassies (diplomatic missions) with Hong Kong and Macao, but not with the mainland, and China doesn't have an embassy in Taiwan.

  • This question is not very rigorous, and the prerequisite is not compliance with the one-China principle.
    – yamakaze
    Commented Feb 5 at 3:00

2 Answers 2


For Taiwan, communication with China is handled by "the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC)", which is a cabinet-level administrative agency under the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The MAC is responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of the Cross-Strait relations policy which targets mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.[2]

The MAC's counterpart body in the People's Republic of China is "the Taiwan Affairs Office", which is an administrative agency under the State Council of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It is responsible for Cross-Strait relations and sets and implements guidelines and policies related to the Republic of China (Taiwan).




The other answer is not wrong, but there is another pair of important organizations in cross-strait relations.

The MAC and TAO are both government offices; while communications are of course necessary and do occur, they do not recognize each other's legitimacy under their respective laws or jurisdiction. TAO and MAC briefly had formal direct government-level contact in 2014 under KMT's Ma Ying-jeou, but that was suspended after the pro-independence Tsai came to power.

The negotiations and respective "consular" affairs in the other territory are formally conducted through two technically non-governmental organizations, but receiving instructions from and acting as an intermediary for the two governments.

For Mainland, the responsible organization is the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS, 海峡两岸关系协会, or 海协/海协会). The counterpart for Taiwan is the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF, 海峡交流基金会 or 海基会).

ARATS and SEF are organized as "ordinary" civil societies under the respective laws of Mainland and Taiwan. But they are far from ordinary; they negotiate on behalf of the respective government in high-level talks and sign agreements that the governments of both sides consider legally binding, despite no government official from Mainland nor Taiwan signed them, for example, the cross-strait free-trade agreement.

The two societies also handle "consular" affairs to certain extent (like embassies). They authenticate documents and help with cross-straits civil matters such as inheritance, adoption, marriage and divorce. However, although there were plans to do so (which nowadays is unlikely to proceed given the geopolitical situation), ARATS and SEF do not have permanent branch offices in the other territory. For example, a Taiwanese who requires consular assistance will contact SEF who will then make representations with ARATS (who will then coordinate with the Mainland government); they can also contact ARATS directly if they wish so.

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