Far East

geographical idiom

The term Far East means countries of East Asia, North Asia and Southeast Asia.[1] It became used in the English language during the period of the British Empire for lands to the east of British India.

Before World War I, the Near East meant relatively nearby lands of the Ottoman Empire, Middle East northwestern South Asia and Central Asia, and Far East countries along the western Pacific Ocean and countries along the eastern Indian Ocean. Many European languages have analogous terms, such as the French Extrême-Orient, Spanish Extremo Oriente, Portuguese Extremo Oriente, German Ferner Osten, Italian Estremo oriente, and Dutch Verre Oosten.

Far East is never used for the culturally Western nations of Australia and New Zealand, which lie even farther to the east of Europe than much of East Asia.

Territories and regions

Name of region[2] and
territory, with flag
(1 July 2002 est.)
Population density
(per km²)
  Brunei 5,770 350,898 60.8 Bandar Seri Begawan
  Cambodia 181,040 12,775,324 70.6 Phnom Penh
  China[3] 9,584,492 1,384,303,705 134.0 Beijing
  Hong Kong (China)[4] 1,092 7,303,334 6,688.0
  Indonesia[5] 1,419,588 227,026,560 159.9 Jakarta
  Japan 377,835 126,974,628 336.1 Tokyo
  Laos 236,800 5,777,180 24.4 Vientiane
  Macau (China)[6] 25 461,833 18,473.3
  Malaysia 329,750 22,662,365 68.7 Kuala Lumpur
  Mongolia 1,565,000 2,694,432 1.7 Ulaanbaatar
  Myanmar (Burma) 678,500 42,238,224 62.3 Naypyidaw[7]
  North Korea 120,540 22,224,195 184.4 Pyongyang
  Philippines 300,000 84,525,639 281.8 Manila
  Russia[8] 13,115,200 39,129,729 3.0 Moscow
  Singapore 704 4,483,900 6,369.0 Singapore
  South Korea 98,480 48,324,000 490.7 Seoul
  Thailand 514,000 62,354,402 121.3 Bangkok
  Timor-Leste (East Timor)[9] 15,007 952,618 63.5 Dili
  Taiwan[10] 35,980 22,548,009 626.7 Taipei
  Vietnam 329,560 81,098,416 246.1 Hanoi


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2008-01-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2.   Continental regions as per UN categorisations (map), except 12. Depending on definitions, various territories cited below (notes 6, 11-13, 15, 17-19, 21-23) may be in one or both of Asia and Europe, Africa, or Oceania.
  3.   The current state is formally known as the People's Republic of China (PRC), which is subsumed by the eponymous entity and civilisation (China). Figures given are for mainland China only, and do not include Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
  4.   Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the PRC.
  5.   Indonesia is often considered a transcontinental country in Southeastern Asia and Oceania; figures do not include Irian Jaya and Maluku Islands, frequently reckoned in Oceania (Melanesia/Australasia).
  6.   Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the PRC.
  7.   The administrative capital of Myanmar was officially moved from Yangon (Rangoon) to a militarised greenfield just west of Pyinmana on 6 November 2005.
  8.   Russia is generally considered a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe (UN region) and Northern Asia; population and area figures are for Asian portion only.
  9.   Timor-Leste is often considered a transcontinental country in Southeastern Asia and Oceania.
  10.   Figures are for the area under the de facto control of the Republic of China (ROC) government, frequently referred to as Taiwan. Claimed in whole by the PRC; see political status of Taiwan.