Taiwan split from mainland China at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949
Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory, and says it will use force to reclaim it if Taipei ever declares independence
Taiwan has been a multi-party democracy since 1996
Taiwan's defence ministry says China now has nearly 1,000 missiles aimed at the island
The US is the major arms supplier to Taiwan and has warned China that any attack on the island would be viewed with "grave concern"