|| Taiwan is an island off the southeast coast of the China mainland. In addition to the main island of Taiwan, Taiwan comprises 15 islands in the Taiwan group and 64 islands in the Penghu (Pescadores) Archipelago. The total area of Taiwan, including the islands, is 35,981 sq. km (13,892 square miles). Of the total, the Taiwan island group accounts for 13,843 square miles, while the Penghu Archipelago, located to the west of Taiwan, has an area of 49 square miles. Taiwan is bounded to the north by the East China Sea, to the east by the Pacific Ocean, to the south by the Bashi Channel, which separates it from Philippines, and to the west by Taiwan Straits, which separates it from the China mainland. Taiwan forms part of the great island system rimming the western Pacific Ocean. It was once known as Formosa -- meaning beautiful -- a name given it by Portuguese explorers. Since 1949 when the Kuomingtang government fled the mainland and ruled the island, the government of the People's Republic of China has claimed jurisdiction over Taiwan, in a solemn stance that the island is an inseparable part of China.