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Formosa Straits


Formosa Straits


The Taiwan Strait or Formosa Strait, formerly known as the Black Ditch, [1] is a 180 kilometres (110 mi) wide strait separating the island of Taiwan from the Asian mainland. The strait is part of the South China Sea and connects to East China Sea to the northeast. [2] [3] The narrowest part is 130 km (81 mi) wide.[4]


The Taiwan Strait is located between Asia and the Pacific Ocean, and it connects the South China Sea and the East China Sea. [2] [3]

Fujian Province in mainland China is to the west of the strait while strategic islands like Quemoy, Xiamen Island, Pingtan Island, and the Matsu Islands lie just off the coast. To the east of the Strait are the west coasts of Taiwan and Penghu. The island fishermen use the strait as a fishing resource. The Min and Jiulong Rivers empty into the strait.

There have been discussions about the strategic importance of the Taiwan Strait. Some Japanese politicians have claimed that the Taiwan Strait is an essential sea route for oil shipment from the Middle East via the Malacca Strait to Japan.[5] However, some have argued that this is merely an excuse for intervention since the sea lane east of Taiwan is even shorter[6]


The Strait has been the theatre for several military confrontations between Mainland China and Taiwan since the last days of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 when the Kuomintang (KMT) forces led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek retreated across the Strait and relocated its government on its final stronghold of Taiwan. A theoretical median maritime border known as the cross-strait median (海峽中線) also exist on the water to prevent certain transportation from passing.[7]

Proposed link

Main articles: Taiwan Strait Tunnel Project, G3 Beijing-Taipei Expressway, Beijing–Taipei High-Speed Rail Corridor and Kunming–Taipei High-Speed Rail Corridor

As part of the People's Republic of China's National Expressway Plan, a tunnel or possibly a bridge, was proposed in 2005 to link the cities of Fuzhou, Fujian, China with Taipei, Taiwan across the strait (Map[8]). If such an extreme construction would ever be built, it would by far exceed the length of any man-made tunnel in the world today. Engineers in Beijing state that a tunnel is technically feasible. However, the Republic of China government had refused to open direct links out of concern for the island's security and in fear that by doing so it would have to recognize the People's Republic of China's one-China policy.[9][10]

See also


Further reading

  • Bush, R. & O'Hanlon, M. (2007). A War Like No Other: The Truth About China's Challenge to America. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-98677-1
  • Bush, R. (2006). Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 0-8157-1290-1
  • Carpenter, T. (2006). America's Coming War with China: A Collision Course over Taiwan. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-6841-1
  • Cole, B. (2006). Taiwan's Security: History and Prospects. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-36581-3
  • Copper, J. (2006). Playing with Fire: The Looming War with China over Taiwan. Praeger Security International General Interest. ISBN 0-275-98888-0
  • Federation of American Scientists et al. (2006). Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning
  • Gill, B. (2007). Rising Star: China's New Security Diplomacy. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 0-8157-3146-9
  • Shirk, S. (2007). China: Fragile Superpower: How China's Internal Politics Could Derail Its Peaceful Rise. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-530609-0
  • Tsang, S. (2006). If China Attacks Taiwan: Military Strategy, Politics and Economics. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-40785-0
  • Tucker, N.B. (2005). Dangerous Strait: the U.S.-Taiwan-China Crisis. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-13564-5
  • Turin, D. (2010). The Taiwan Strait: From Civil War to Status Quo. Student Pulse. Vol 2., No. 6. The Taiwan Strait: From Civil War to Status Quo
  • Wallace Thies, and Patrick Bratton, “When Governments Collide in the Taiwan Strait,” Journal of Strategic Studies, 27, no. 4 (December 2004), 556–84.

Template:Fujian topics

Coordinates: 24°48′40″N 119°55′42″E / 24.81111°N 119.92833°E / 24.81111; 119.92833

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