Republic of China on Taiwan (Chinese: 中華民國在臺灣; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó zài Táiwān) is a political term as well as discourse regarding the present status of the Republic of China. It is proposed by former President of the Republic of China Lee Teng-hui, the first locally-born president (i.e., the first to have been born on Taiwan). During his presidential tenure in 1995, Lee visited his alma mater Cornell University and mentioned this term for the first time when delivering an Olin Lecture.[1][2][3][4]

The term is one of several regarding the Republic of China, and is not exactly about Taiwanese independence. The term was later included in the Four-Stage Theory of the Republic of China as the third stage from 1988 to 2000 by President Lee's successor Chen Shui-bian.[5][6][7] During Chen's administration, the phrase was used in an initial application for UN membership in 2000, but the term was replaced with other expressions in 2002 and 2006 applications and has not been used since.[8]


Before Lee Teng-hui coined the term, the officials of the Republic of China had always used the state's official name "Republic of China". Therefore, the term was regarded as a breakthrough.[3][9]

In regards to the origin of the term, Lee explained in 2005 during a lecture in Lee Teng-Hui Institute [zh] that, following World War II, Chiang Kai-shek's forces temporarily occupied the island of Taiwan under the direction of Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers Douglas MacArthur, and because both the Treaty of San Francisco and the Treaty of Taipei concluded afterwards did not explicitly specify to whom Japan renounced the sovereignty of Taiwan, the legal status of Taiwan has become undetermined, and that's why he coined the term "Republic of China on Taiwan".[10]

See also


  1. ^ 總統李登輝訪美國康乃爾大學,臺灣民主受推崇[permanent dead link], Government Information Office (in Chinese)
  2. ^ 民國84年李登輝總統於康乃爾大學歐林講座發表演講, National Central Library (in Chinese)
  3. ^ a b Text of Lee's Cornell address Archived 2016-10-30 at the Wayback Machine, TAIWAN INFO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1995-6-16
  4. ^ 國家定位 李前總統︰ROC在台灣, TVBS, 2003-12/-21
  5. ^ Mainland Policy and Work - August 2, 2005, Mainland Affairs Council, 2005
  6. ^ Chen says name variance is simply an expedient, Taipei Times, 2005-08-03
  7. ^ Chen urges unity to deal with China, Taipei Times, 2005-08-3
  8. ^ Chiang F. Political Status of the ROC in Taiwan. The One-China Policy: State, Sovereignty, and Taiwan's International Legal Status. 2018;131-178. doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-102314-3.00005-7
  9. ^ 國家定位 李前總統︰ROC在台灣, TVBS, 2003-12-21
  10. ^ 李欣芳 (July 5, 2005). 李登輝:台灣要獨立 應跟美談法定地位. Liberty Times (in Chinese (Taiwan)). Taipei. Retrieved July 11, 2016.