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Taiwan Strait

Taiwan Strait
Taiwan Strait.png
Traditional Chinese臺灣海峽 or 台灣海峽
Simplified Chinese台湾海峡
Hokkien POJTâi-ôan Hái-kiap
Abbreviated as
Traditional Chinese臺海 or 台海
Simplified Chinese台海
Hokkien POJTâi-hái
Literal meaningTai-Sea
Second alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese烏水溝
Simplified Chinese乌水沟
Hokkien POJO͘-chúi-kau

The Taiwan Strait, or Formosa Strait, is a 180 kilometres (110 mi)-wide strait separating the island of Taiwan from mainland China. The strait is part of the South China Sea and connects to the East China Sea to the north.[1] The narrowest part is 130 km (81 mi) wide.[2]


The Taiwan Strait is the section of sea between the Chinese mainland (in Asia) and the island of Taiwan.[1]

Much of China's Fujian Province is west of the strait, having the main islands of Kinmen, Xiamen (a major city overspilling into the mainland and including Gulangyu Island), Pingtan and Matsu just off its coast. The Penghu or Pescadores Islands lie in the east of the strait. Fishermen use the strait as a fishing resource. All of Fujian's rivers (the largest being the Min and, second-largest, the Jiulong) run into the strait, except the Ting. Taiwan's government administers Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu. The strait is on the continental shelf, it is almost entirely less than 150 m deep, with a brief ravine of that depth off the south-west of Taiwan. It hosts major shipping lanes including over a bank, around 25 m in depth (40–60km north of the Penghu archipelago).[3]


The Strait has been the theatre for several military confrontations between the PLAN and ROCN 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 their government to their final stronghold of Taiwan. A theoretical median maritime border known as the cross-strait median (海峽中線) also exists on the water to prevent certain transportation from passing.[4]

Proposed link

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 city of Fuzhou with Taipei across the strait.[5] If such an extreme construction were ever 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 in Taiwan has refused to open direct links out of concern for Taiwan's security and in fear that by doing so it would have to recognize the People's Republic of China's one-China policy, since China split into two in the Chinese Civil War and they still have an adversarial relationship.[6][7]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Limits of Oceans and Seas" (PDF) (3rd ed.). Monaco: International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. p. 33. Special Publication No. 23. Retrieved 7 February 2010. The East China Sea is bounded on the south by "The Northern limit of the South China Sea [From Fuki Kaku the North point of Formosa to Kiushan Tao (Turnabout Island) on to the South point of Haitan Tao (25°25' N) and thence Westward on the parallel of 25°24' North to the coast of Fukien], thence from Santyo the Northeastern point of Formosa to the West point of Yonakuni Island and thence to Haderuma Sima (24°03′ N, 123°47′ E)."
  2. ^ "Geography". Government Information Office. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
  3. ^ [] Sea depth map.
  4. ^ "" 大公報文章:"海峽中線"應該廢除. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  5. ^ China, China (1 December 2008). "Medium to Long Term Rail Network Plan for PRC". China Rail Department. China. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  6. ^ Wu, Zhong (14 January 2005). "Mainland to triple highway network". The Standard. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  7. ^ Gittings, John (8 April 2002). "Plans unveiled in China for Taiwan tunnel". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 May 2010.

Further reading