Taiwan - Geography
The total area of the current jurisdiction of the Republic of China is 36,193 km2 (13,974 sq mi), making it the world's 137th-largest country/dependency, smaller than Switzerland and larger than Belgium.
The island of Taiwan lies some 180 kilometres (110 mi) off the southeastern coast of mainland China, which lies across the Taiwan Strait, and has an area of 35,883 km2 (13,855 sq mi). The East China Sea lies to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Bashi Channel of the Luzon Strait directly to the south, and the South China Sea to the southwest. All are arms of the Pacific Ocean. The shape of the main island of Taiwan is similar to a sweet potato seen in a south-to-north direction, and therefore, Taiwanese (especially Min Nan speakers) often call themselves "children of the Sweet Potato."
The island is characterized by the contrast between the eastern two-thirds, consisting mostly of rugged mountains running in five ranges from the northern to the southern tip of the island, and the flat to gently rolling Chianan Plains in the west that are also home to most of Taiwan's population. Taiwan's highest point is Yu Shan (Jade Mountain) at 3,952 metres (12,966 ft); Taiwan is the world's fourth-highest island.
The Penghu Islands, 50 km (31.1 mi) west of the main island, have an area of 126.9 km2 (49.0 sq mi). More distant islands controlled by the Republic of China are the Kinmen, Wuchiu and Matsu Islands off the coast of Fujian, with a total area of 180.5 km2 (69.7 sq mi), and the Pratas Islands and Taiping Island in the South China Sea, with a total area of 2.9 km2 (1.1 sq mi) and no permanent inhabitants.