The Republic of China, established in mainland China in 1912, is the oldest surviving republic in East Asia. As the legal successor state of the Qing dynasty, most of mainland China was governed by the Republic of China (without the island of Taiwan, which was under Japanese rule) after the Chiang Kai-shek-led Kuomintang reunified China in 1928. Taiwan and accompanying islands were subsequently surrendered to Republic of China rule from the Empire of Japan at the end of World War II in late 1945, when both mainland China and Taiwan came under the ROC rule for four years until 1949.
Since the ROC's loss of its mainland territory following the Chinese Civil War and the founding of the Chinese Communist Party-led People's Republic of China (PRC) on mainland China in 1949, the ROC and the PRC have been claiming to represent all of "China" respectively, and both officially claim each other's territory. The PRC claims to be the successor state of the ROC and therefore claims Taiwan and other ROC-held areas as part of its territory which, along with mainland China, under Chinese sovereignty. Similarly, the ROC also officially claims sovereignty over "all China" under its constitution; although in practice, the ROC government has ceased to actively pursue this stance since 1992. This ongoing dispute over the claim and legitimacy of "China" and also the sovereignty over Taiwan is a lingering issue from the unresolved Chinese Civil War which forms part of the complex political status of Taiwan. The tension between the two Chinas colors most of the political life in Taiwan, and any move towards "Taiwan independence" is met by threat of military attack from the PRC. The PRC's official policy is to reunify Taiwan and mainland China under the formula of "one country, two systems" and refuses to renounce the use of military force, especially should Taiwan seek a declaration of independence.
The political environment in Taiwan is generally divided into two major camps in terms of views on how Taiwan/Republic of China should relate to PRC/Mainland China, which is referred to as Cross-Strait relations, is a main political discrepancy between two camps: the Pan-Blue Coalition (majority Kuomintang) believes that the ROC is the sole legitimate government of "China" but supports eventual Chinese reunification under the terms of 1992 Consensus, which defines the One China Principle. The opposition Pan-Green Coalition (majority Democratic Progressive Party) regards Taiwan as an independent, sovereign state synonymous with the ROC, opposes the notion that Taiwan is part of "China", and seeks wide diplomatic recognition and an eventual declaration of formal Taiwan independence.
A single-party state under the Kuomintang lasting from 1928, in the 1980s and 1990s the Republic of China evolved into a multi-party democracy. It has a presidential system and universal suffrage. The president serves as the head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The Legislative Yuan is the ROC's unicameral legislature. During the latter half of the twentieth century, the Republic of China on Taiwan experienced rapid economic growth, industrialization, and democratization. Despite of its controversial political status, the ROC is an industrialized advanced economy. It is a member of the WTO and APEC. It is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The 19th-largest economy in the world, its advanced technology industry plays a key role in the global economy. The ROC is ranked highly in terms of freedom of the press, health care, public education, economic freedom, and human development.