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Yearbook 2002

Taiwan. In early 2002, after many years of efforts, the country became a formal member of the World Trade Organization despite protests from China, which regards Taiwan as a Chinese breakaway republic. Just a few weeks earlier, China itself had joined the WTO.

2002 Taiwan

In January, the country was given a new government after the parliamentary elections were held at the end of December 2001. According to Countryaah website, President Chen Shuibian's independence-advocating Democratic Progressive Party had won in that election over nationalist Guomindang. The government's main task was to gain momentum on the Taiwanese economy.

On May 25, the country suffered a major accident when a Taiwanese aircraft on its way to Hong Kong crashed into the sea off Taibei shortly after takeoff from the capital's airport. All 225 passengers on board died, as did the entire crew.

Relations with China remained tense and in the summer, Taiwan warned that China was increasing its military spending and had expressed dissatisfaction that the reunification between countries was going too slowly. Country President Chen Shuibian supported the idea of holding a referendum on the island's future status - independence or reunification with China - "when the time is right".

In July, the small Nauru kingdom in the Pacific formed diplomatic relations with China. Through the agreement, the country recognized Taiwan as part of China. Nauru was one of the countries that had previously had diplomatic contacts with Taiwan, but these were canceled by the agreement with China. Thus, 27 countries in the world had diplomatic contacts with Taiwan.

At year-end 2002/2003, bans on disposable plates and disposable cutlery were introduced at all Taiwan's restaurants. The year before, plastic bags were banned from all government stores. Environmental considerations were behind the bans.

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