A country that you often hear about due to its complicated relationship with China and the United States is Taiwan.
Because the conversation usually includes China and the United States, but not many other countries, you may wonder if Taiwan is part of NATO.
If it is, then you may wonder why the other NATO-affiliated countries don’t talk about it.
If it isn’t, then you may wonder if it’s planning to join NATO.
Here’s a look at the countries that are not part of NATO and information regarding whether Taiwan is part of it.
Is Taiwan Part Of NATO?
No, Taiwan is not part of NATO.
However, the United States designates Taiwan as a non-NATO ally.
As such, it is ready to come to the country’s defense in the event of an unwarranted attack.
Part of the reason that the United States classifies Taiwan as a non-NATO ally is because of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.
This act requires the United States to be transparent in the aid that it gives to other countries.
It also allows the US to send aid to other countries.
It was created in 1961 under John F. Kennedy and has remained in place since, albeit with some amendments.
Although the United States sees Taiwan as a non-NATO ally, that does not necessarily mean that the other NATO countries do.
Should Taiwan ever find itself in a war, the United States might get involved, but the other NATO nations might not.
What Countries Are Part Of NATO?
Although Taiwan isn’t part of NATO, there are quite a few countries that are.
NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization and is open to all European and North American countries who want to defend the Atlantic and uphold democracy.
Certain nations don’t quite qualify to join the group.
For one, most of the countries involved with the group are in Europe.
The exceptions are Canada and the United States.
Secondly, the organization is open to those who have a democratic government.
China, which has a communist government, likely wouldn’t qualify.
Taiwan has a democratic government, but it’s in the far east.
Since it likely wouldn’t readily come to the defense of the Atlantic, it might not qualify for membership.
This is also because the country is Asian whereas most of NATO’s countries are European.
The countries that are part of NATO include:
- Czech Republic
- North Macedonia
- Türkiye (Turkey)
- United Kingdom
- United States
What Countries Are Not Part Of NATO?
While NATO has a good number of countries that are a part of it, there are quite a few countries that are not part of NATO.
There are even some European countries that have yet to join NATO.
Here are some of the countries that are not part of NATO.
In Europe, there are a few countries that are not part of NATO but have a good relationship with the organization.
Armenia is one of those countries.
Although it isn’t officially part of NATO, it is part of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program.
This program helps broker trust between NATO and non-NATO European countries.
It’s unlikely that Armenia is going to ever join NATO because of its policies, which are more in line with Russian policies.
Armenia also has a contentious relationship with Azerbaijan.
Since Armenia perceives that the Secretary-General of NATO is supportive of Azerbaijan, it’s unlikely that Armenia will ever join NATO in the future.
That said, Armenia has helped NATO militarily in the past.
They’ve sent troops to Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led operation.
Although Armenia might not join NATO, they are not at odds with the organization.
Another European country that hasn’t joined NATO is Azerbaijan.
Initially, the country was part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
This was an alliance between European and Asian countries.
It was primarily made up of post-Soviet countries.
Azerbaijan eventually left and instead adopted a role of neutrality.
That said, they aren’t fully neutral since the fallout from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is still felt between them and Armenia.
While Azerbaijan might have an interest in joining NATO, the existing countries might not accept their request.
If they were to accept the country as a member, it might drive Armenia further into Russian hands.
Another country that would face difficulties if it were to join NATO is Cyprus.
Cyprus has had ongoing issues with Turkey.
For Cyprus to join NATO, they’d have to demilitarize the island.
With the conflict between them and Turkey still ongoing, Cyprus might not want to do that.
Turkey, which is a member of NATO, might also veto any attempt Cyprus makes to join NATO until the matter gets resolved.
While there has been some talk about Cyprus entering the Partnership for Peace program, it has yet to happen.
Cyprus seems more interested in defending itself and being part of the European Union.
For a long while, Finland was on the fence about joining NATO.
They were part of several of NATO’s programs, but they didn’t feel comfortable joining.
Some politicians wanted NATO to be more European.
Others simply didn’t want to join at all.
A primary concern was Russia.
Some politicians wanted stronger ties with Russia while others wanted to back away from the country.
Recently, Finland has decided to join NATO.
They put in their bid for membership in 2022.
Although the wider United Kingdom is part of NATO, Ireland is not.
Ireland is technically separate from the United Kingdom except for Northern Ireland.
As such, it isn’t technically part of NATO.
That said, the organization extended an open invitation to Ireland should it ever decide to join.
The primary reason Ireland hasn’t joined NATO is because of its neutrality.
It has a military neutrality stance which impedes it from being able to join a war to defend another NATO country.
That said, Ireland has sent some soldiers on NATO-sanctioned peacekeeping operations.
The process of allowing their soldiers to join those exercises, however, has three parts.
First, they must get the missions mandated by the UN.
Then it has to pass through their cabinet.
The final step is the approval of the Dáil Éireann.
For Ireland to join NATO, they’d have to amend their laws regarding neutrality.
While the issue has come up a few times among politicians, with some for joining NATO, the majority of politicians don’t seem to care enough to discuss the topic.
Until it becomes a pressing issue, Ireland will likely not join NATO.
Kosovo recently broke away from the country of Serbia.
Its declaration of independence wasn’t recognized by everyone.
Even among NATO countries, there are four that do not recognize Kosovo as its own, independent country.
Because of that, Kosovo has not been able to join NATO.
That said, it has applied to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.
With some NATO countries potentially changing their stance on Kosovo’s independence, there’s a possibility that it might be able to join NATO someday.
Another country that doesn’t have any plans to join NATO is Moldova.
Part of the reason the country doesn’t want to join is that its government was formerly a communist one.
NATO doesn’t allow communist governments to join.
Moldova is also part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which is an alliance between eastern European countries and Asia.
It formed after the fall of the Soviet Union.
It has greater ties to Russia which is another reason it likely won’t join NATO.
While it has participated in NATO military exercises in the past, it no longer participates.
It has also been part of the Partnership for Peace program and the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP).
That said, the country hasn’t made any moves toward NATO membership or leaving the Commonwealth alliance.
As such, at this moment it’s unlikely that Moldova is going to join NATO.
Perhaps one of the countries most unlikely to join NATO is Russia.
While Russia has been careful not to engage with NATO-affiliated countries so far, it has also made it clear that it doesn’t have any interest in joining the alliance.
Some NATO members suggested that Russia join them.
In particular, there was a concern over the growing power of certain Asian countries.
Having Russia join the alliance would help bolster them against these rising powers.
However, Russia has preferred to keep its relationship and dealings with NATO at the most basic and lowest levels.
It’s highly unlikely that Russia will ever join NATO.
For some time, it seemed as though Serbia was never likely to join NATO.
Part of the reason was the bad blood between Serbia and NATO.
During the Bosnian War, NATO forces fought against Serbian soldiers.
They also bombed Yugoslavia.
When Kosovo broke off and declared independence, most of NATO recognized it.
Because of this, Serbia didn’t have positive feelings toward the organization.
However, it has taken small steps toward becoming a member.
It joined the Partnership for Peace program.
It also signed the Information Exchange Agreement with NATO.
This has allowed Serbia to take part in NATO military exercises.
Although progress has been slow, Serbia draws closer and closer to becoming a full member of NATO.
Sweden was another country that didn’t intend to join NATO.
They preferred their neutrality.
While some politicians supported their joining NATO, others were strongly against it.
The Swedish people were also against joining NATO for some time.
However, that has changed in recent years.
A large part of the decision came down to whether Finland joined or not.
Although Sweden had been part of some of NATO’s programs before, it didn’t feel comfortable joining unless Finland also joined.
After a meeting with NATO officials, both Sweden and Finland filed for membership in 2022.
Another contentious country with a complicated history with NATO is Ukraine.
For a long while, Ukraine didn’t have an interest in joining NATO.
Some Ukrainian citizens even saw joining as a threat.
That slowly changed over the years and now they are more interested in joining the organization.
When Russia invaded Ukraine, support for joining NATO was at an all-time high.
However, Ukraine doesn’t have any official plans to join NATO.
Although NATO primarily consists of countries around the Atlantic, it has considered expanding to form a global alliance.
One of the countries that it has its eye on is Australia.
Australia is often seen as a non-NATO ally.
The country has helped NATO before and has participated in some of its programs.
While nothing official has come about, it’s likely that if NATO were ever to go global, then Australia might be one of the first countries to join.
Colombia is another country that has supported some of NATO’s exercises and has been part of its programs.
Although Colombia has yet to officially join NATO, it has benefited from its partnership with the alliance.
The United States has also deemed Colombia a major non-NATO ally.
NATO has also reached out to India with an interest in forming a partnership.
In particular, it wants India to join its Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) program.
India participated in talks with NATO officials, but it hasn’t made any official decisions on whether to join the alliance.
The country of Israel is another non-official NATO country that has helped NATO in several of its exercises.
It’s helped NATO with technology and counterterrorism in the past.
President Reagan classified Israel as a major non-NATO ally as well.
There hasn’t been any indication as to whether Israel intends to join NATO.
Although NATO initially came together to protect itself from Japan, relationships have since changed.
Japan started working with NATO in the 1990s.
It helped NATO with counterterrorism and counter-piracy efforts.
It has also given NATO military assistance in Afghanistan and the Balkans.
Although there hasn’t been anything official such as an invitation to join NATO, the relationship between Japan and NATO is positive.
Why Isn’t Taiwan Part Of NATO?
While several countries are part of NATO, you may wonder why Taiwan isn’t a member.
Here are a few reasons why Taiwan isn’t part of NATO.
1. Not On The Atlantic
One of the biggest reasons Taiwan isn’t part of NATO is because of its location.
Taiwan is on the southeast coast of China.
It’s in the Pacific Ocean and not the Atlantic Ocean.
Because of that, it’s a far distance from other NATO countries.
It’s also separated by other countries which are not part of NATO.
Even if it wanted to lend support to European countries, it would find it difficult to do so.
That’s especially true if the country causing the problem sits between Taiwan and the country it’s trying to help.
Taiwan isn’t part of NATO because of its location.
Another big reason Taiwan hasn’t joined NATO is because of China.
China has some strong feelings about Taiwan.
If it were to join NATO, then it might anger China and war might break out.
Since the United States would likely be part of that war because it sees Taiwan as a major non-NATO ally, there’s a chance that other NATO countries might get involved, too.
Not every NATO country wants to get into a war with China.
Because of that, some officials might not want to extend an invitation to Taiwan to join NATO.
It’s better to just avoid the potential of war altogether.
3. It’s Focused On European Countries
NATO was initially formed between European countries, Canada, and the United States.
The goal was to keep each other safe from other Asian and European countries that were a threat at the time.
Because of that, the alliance is primarily focused on European countries.
Although NATO launched a global arm of its organization, partnerships have been fluid and loose and not as official as NATO, itself.
Because Taiwan isn’t a European country, some NATO officials might block the attempt for the country to join.
Taiwan is not part of NATO.
There are a few reasons why NATO hasn’t extended an invitation to Taiwan or why Taiwan hasn’t taken the steps to join the alliance.
Other countries have yet to join NATO because of their ties to Russia or their interest in military neutrality.