Officially known as the Republic of China, and located on the island of Formosa, Taiwan has long struggled with the People's Republic of China for recognition as an independent nation. Some two million Chinese sought refuge on the island after the Communist takeover of China in 1949. The issue of whether or not Taiwan will eventually be unified with China continues to dominate Taiwan's politics. Bordering on the East China Sea, the Philippine Sea, the South China Sea, and the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan has a coastline of 971 miles (1,566 kilometers). Mountains cover the eastern two-thirds of the islands, giving way to plains in the west. Tropical and marine climates produce a distinct monsoon season in the southwest from June to August, and extensive clouds ...

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