The ROC, a charter member of the UN, became the first government to lose its recognition from that body following a General Assembly vote on 25 November 1971 to recognize the PRC as the sole legitimate representative of China. The ROC subsequently lost its membership in most UN bodies, as well as in several other international organizations—usually with its place taken by the PRC. As of 2003, the Asian Development Bank was one of the few major intergovernmental groups to which Taiwan still belonged; others included the ICC, IOC, and WCL. Taiwan is a member of APEC, and in January 2002, Taiwan officially became a member of the WTO.
As of August 2002, Taiwan had formal diplomatic ties with only 27 countries. The government claims to have "substantive" trade relations with more than 140 countries and territories, however. In November 2001, Taiwn lifted a 50-year ban on direct trade and investment with China.