I frequently come across, in America, people who are genuinely surprised that Taiwan is a sovereign state.
Without a clear territory under exclusive control, recognition from other governments, or independence from the mainland, what's so sovereign about it?
Yes, when people debate Taiwan’s sovereignty (for, independent foreign relations and a military, against, limited recognition) they understand the local context. That there is legitimate dispute with respect to its status is news to a surprising number of Americans.
But isn’t there? Taiwan has borders and a military.