Since its founding in 1949, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has had a diplomatic tug-of-war with its rival in Taiwan, the Republic of China (ROC). Throughout the Cold War, both governments claimed to be the sole legitimate government of all China and allowed countries to recognize either one or the other. Until the 1970s, most Western countries recognized the ROC while the communist bloc and third world countries generally recognized the PRC. This gradually shifted and today only 16 UN member states recognize the ROC while the PRC is recognized by the United Nations, 176 UN member states and 1 UN observer around the world. Both the ROC and the PRC maintain the requirement of recognizing its view of the One-China policy to establish or maintain diplomatic relations.
Countries of the world indicating decade diplomatic relations commenced with the PRC: 1949/1950s (dark red), 1960s (red), 1970s (orange), 1980s (beige) and 1990s/2000s (yellow). Countries not recognised by or not recognising the PRC are in grey. The PRC itself is in black.
The PRC was established on 1 October 1949, when the Chinese Civil War was still underway, and the seat of Government of the Republic of China was not relocated to Taipei until December 1949. All the countries that recognized the new PRC government in 1949 were communist states.
Recognition of the PRC after it was seated at the UN
The Republic of China, which had occupied China's seat at the United Nations since 1945, was effectively expelled on 25 October 1971. Its seat was taken over by the People's Republic of China from 15 November 1971, and the migration of relations to the PRC soon followed among members of the Western Bloc, except for the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Italy and the Scandinavian Countries which had previously established diplomatic relations.
^Succeeded by Ukraine, though official relations began on 4 January 1992
^Succeeded by Belarus, though official relations began on 20 January 1992
^Succeeded by the Czech Republic. Diplomatic relations with the Slovak Republic were established on 1 January 1993, mutually agreed to trace the date of establishment of diplomatic relations back to 4 October 1949.
^ abcOn 6 January 1950, the United Kingdom recognized the PRC and requested the exchange of ambassadors, but this was refused. The UK and The Netherlands established diplomatic relations at chargé d'affaires level with the PRC on 17 June 1954 and 19 November 1954 respectively. The PRC government does not regard the semi-diplomatic relations at chargé d'affaires level as formal diplomatic ties. The UK does. The PRC consented to the exchange of ambassadors with the UK on 13 March 1972 and with The Netherlands on 18 May 1972. See Sino-British relations for further details.
^"Britain Recognizes Chinese Communists: Note delivered in Peking". The Times. London. 7 January 1950. p. 6. ISSN0140-0460.
^ abSerbia attempted to succeed but all other former Yugoslav Republics deferred the attempt, and no consensus was reached in the first period. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia est. 1992-02-28 was not granted successorship and was placed under international sanctions. In 2001 an Agreement on Succession Issues was signed and reached validity in 2004, by the provisions of that Agreement FRY is not the successor of SFRY. Serbia and Montenegro succeeded the United Nations seat of the FRY (joined the UN as a new member on 2000-11-01) "Succession" of recognition by Serbia, successor state of Serbia and Montenegro is due to international law inadmissible. Arbitration Commission of the Peace Conference on the former Yugoslavia Opinion No. 10 (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - Serbia and Montenegro). In this decision, the Commission ruled that the FRY (Serbia and Montenegro) could not legally be considered a continuation of the former SFRY, but was rather a new state. Thus the European Community (and the UN) should not automatically recognize the FRY, but apply to it the same criteria applied to the recognition of the other post-SFRY states.
^Diplomatic relations were raised to ambassadorial level on 15 July 1991.
^Senegal resumed diplomatic relations with the ROC on 6 January 1996. Ties with the PRC were severed from 9 January 1996, until 25 October 2005, when ties were resumed.
^Diplomatic relations were restored on 6 August 2006. Diplomatic relations were severed on 15 August 1997 after Chad resumed diplomatic ties with the ROC on 12 August 1997.
^Diplomatic relations were restored on 26 May 2018. Diplomatic relations were severed by PRC on 4 February 1994 after Burkina Faso resumed diplomatic ties with the ROC on 2 February 1994.
^Diplomatic relations were restored on 13 April 1998. Guinea Bissau recognized the ROC on 26 May 1990.
^Diplomatic relations were restored on 19 August 1996. PRC suspended diplomatic relations on 19 July 1992 after Niger resumed ties with the ROC on 30 June 1992.
^Diplomatic relations were restored on 17 March 2016. Diplomatic relations were severed by PRC on 25 July 1995. Gambia resumed diplomatic ties with the ROC on 13 July 1995.
^Diplomatic relations were restored on 26 December 2016. Diplomatic relations were severed by PRC on 12 July 1997.
^Diplomatic relations were restored on 10 August 1993. Liberia resumed diplomatic ties with the ROC on 9 October 1989. Diplomatic relations with the PRC has been severed since 9 September 1997 because the Liberian Government's recognition of a "Two Chinas" Policy. However, the PRC and Liberia normalized their relations on 11 October 2003.
^Diplomatic relations were severed on 29 November 2003. Kiribati recognized the ROC on 7 November 2003.
^Diplomatic relations were restored on 12 January 1994. Lesotho resumed diplomatic ties with the ROC on 5 April 1990.
^Diplomatic relations were restored on 20 January 2005. Grenada recognized the ROC on 19 July 1989.
^Diplomatic relations were severed on 9 November 1990. Nicaragua resumed diplomatic ties with the ROC on 6 November 1990.
^Diplomatic relations were severed on 23 October 1989. Belize recognized the ROC on 11 October 1989.