neutral countries

Neutral Countries

“The Hottest Place in Hell is Reserved for Those Who Remain Neutral in Times of Great Moral Conflict”

– Martin Luther King Jr. It seems he didn’t have much time for neutrality. It’s not clear whether Martin Luther King’s disdain for neutrality extended to all neutral countries, but it does appear some countries want to have their cake and eat it rather than sharing the burdens of aligned countries. How do you tell if a neutral country is truly neutral? The short answer is you can’t. Although all the countries in our list claim neutrality, five of them are European Union states which has a common foreign policy and mutual responsibilities so their neutrality is in doubt.

Key to Map of Neutral Countries:

  • Red: Traditionally neutral countries
  • Yellow: Countries with uncertain or disputed neutrality
  • Blue: EU Neutral countries
Neutral Countries Placeholder
Neutral Countries

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Neutral Countries Since Population ISO Code EU State Neutrality Status & Key Facts
Austria 1955 8,726,000 AT Yes Austria declared neutrality on 26 October 1955 which is now part of the part of the Constitution of Austria. Austria has its own military like Switzerland.
Cambodia 1993 15,000,000 KH Cambodia’s neutrality is disputed. Cambodia has vowed not to join any military alliance “not in conformity with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations” or to allow the basing of foreign military forces on its territory “as long as its security is not threatened.” In 2017 Prak Sokhon the Cambodian Foreign Affairs minister said “We will stay neutral and unaligned… Non-alliance does not bring harm to us… We have good relations with the United States and we have good relations with China, but are not allied to China or pro-China.”
Costa Rica 1949 4,900,000 CR No own military
Finland 1995 5,500,000 FI Yes Finland’s military doctrine is to maintain a credible independent defense along with a desire to remain outside international conflicts. There are no international pledges for its neutrality.
Ghana 2012 26,000,000 GH Unitary presidential constitutional democracy
Ireland 1937 4,600,000 IE Yes EU member country, covertly supported the allies during WWII. Declined to join NATO in 1949.
Japan 1947 127,110,000 JP Claims neutrality but has own defensive military forces and a bi-lateral alliance with the USA
Liechtenstein 1868 37000 LI No own military
Malta 1980 500,000 MT Yes In 1987 Malta added a neutrality clause to its Constitution. Malta was a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) between 1973 and 2004 when Malta joined the EU and Malta’s neutrality has been a topic of debate ever since.
Mexico 1939 122,000,000 MX Supported Allies in WWII and ignored policy of neutrality on occasions since then.
Moldova 1994 3,600,000 MD Declared independence in 1991 after fall of the Soviet Union. Permanent neutrality is written into article 11 of their 1994 constitution.
Mongolia 2015 3,081,700 MN Neutral during WWI 1914-1918. Declared neutrality in speech at the 70th UN General Assembly
Panama 1989 3,900,000 PA A treaty guarantees the neutrality of the Panama Canal.
Rwanda 2009 11,262,600 RW Announced permanent neutrality in 2009 after joining the Commonwealth of Nations.
San Marino 1862 32000 SM Surrounded by Italy. Area only 24 sq mi (61 km2).
Serbia 2007 7,041,600 RS Former member and founder of Yugoslavia. The Serbian National Assembly declared armed neutrality in 2007 and Serbia has observer status of the Non-Aligned Movement. Serbia opened EU accession negotiations in January 2014.
Sweden 1834 9,600,000 SE Yes In 1834 King Gustav XIV formally proclaimed Sweden’s neutrality. Traditionally Sweden maintained its neutral status during military conflicts. In 1941 Sweden allowed German forces to transit through Swedish territory to the Finnish front but at the same time protected refugees from the Nazis. There’s no international treaty.
Switzerland 1815 8,000,000 CH Switzerland is the oldest neutral country in the world. Switzerland was guaranteed permanent neutrality at the Congress of Vienna on 20th December 1815 by Austria, France, England, Prussia and Russia.
Taiwan, Republic of China 2014 23,508,400 TW Actively seeking peaceful engagement with mainland China, wants to act as a buffer between the USA, mainland China and Japan.
Turkmenistan 1995 5,200,000 TM Former member of the Soviet Union (Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic)
Ukraine 2010 46,000,000 UA Applied to NATO in 2008 and working towards EU membership application
Vatican City 1929 800 VA Absolute monarchy within Rome, area 110 acres (44 hectares). Smallest independent state in the world

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7 responses to “Neutral Countries”

  1. JC says:

    In 1962 Laos was a neutral country (guaranteed by 14 countries, including the USA, Soviet Union, France and the UK) until the treaty was violated by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Laos has been a one party Marxist-Leninist socialist republic since 1975.

  2. Hank Cheranichit says:

    Whatever has happened to Laos Neutrality? We all realized that this country has been taken over by Communist Forces supported by North Vietnam. Is there any chances that the Neutrality can be restored? Thank you

  3. Anonymous says:

    Re: “The Hottest Place in Hell is Reserved for Those Who Remain Neutral in Times of Great Moral Conflict” Armed conflict does always equal moral conflict. I’d wager Martin Luther King was referring to moral conflict as he stated. A reason for a country to be neutral is to avoid immoral war. I think he also meant people who have spirits rather than countries.

  4. JC says:

    Thanks Abi, I’ve now corrected the list

  5. Abi Gassmann says:

    Your date for Austria is incorrect: neutrality is part of the constitution enacted in 1955

  6. JC says:

    Hi MMB, thanks for the correction. We did mean the first World War, now updated.

  7. MMB says:

    Correct your note on Mongolia “neutral WWI 2014-2018”. Perhaps you mean 1914-1918…?

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