neutral countries

Neutral Countries

Neutral Countries List

How do you tell if a neutral country is truly neutral? The short answer is you can’t – but the actions (or inaction) of neutral countries speak louder than words. Although all the countries in our list claim neutrality, the five neutral European Union states share a common foreign policy which includes mutual responsibilities and obligations so their neutrality requires special exceptions and remains an ongoing internal EU matter of debate.

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Neutral Countries Since Population ISO Code EU State NAM member Neutrality Status & Key Facts
🇦🇹 Austria 1955 8,726,000 AT Yes No 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 Yes 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 Observer Costa Rica hasn’t had a standing army since 1949 but does maintain a limited “Public Force” to maintain internal security. Costa Rica’s neutrality was ratified by law in 2014.
🇫🇮 Finland 1995 5,500,000 FI Yes No 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 Yes Ghana has been a member of the Non-Aligned Movement since 1961. In 2012, following the death of President John Atta Mills, the government implemented a closed-neutral policy.
🇮🇪 Ireland 1937 4,600,000 IE Yes No Ireland pursued a policy of neutrality during WWII but covertly supported the allies. Ireland declined an invitation to join NATO in 1949. Ireland joined the EU in 1973 but was granted special status so it can remain non-aligned.
🇯🇵 Japan 1947 127,110,000 JP No Following its defeat in WWII the USA imposed Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution in 1947 which renounced Japan’s sovereign right of belligerency. Japan maintains its own defensive military forces and has a bi-lateral alliance with the USA.
🇱🇮 Liechtenstein 1868 37000 LI No Liechtenstein disbanded its army in 1868 because it was too costly. Liechtenstein remained neutral during WWII. Defense is informally provided by Austria and Switzerland.
🇲🇹 Malta 1980 500,000 MT Yes No 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 Observer Mexico supported the allies during WWII and has ignored it’s historical policy on neutrality on occasions since then.
🇲🇩 Moldova 1994 3,600,000 MD No 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 Yes Mongolia was neutral during WWI (1914-1918). Declared redeclared its neutrality in a speech at the 70th UN General Assembly.
🇵🇦 Panama 1989 3,900,000 PA Yes A treaty guarantees the neutrality of the Panama Canal.
🇷🇼 Rwanda 2009 11,262,600 RW Yes Rwanda joined the neutral countries when it announced permanent neutrality in 2009, after joining the Commonwealth of Nations.
🇸🇲 San Marino 1862 32000 SM No San Marino is a 24 square mile (61 km2) enclave within Italy which remained neutral during WWI and WWII.
🇷🇸 Serbia 2007 7,041,600 RS Observer Serbia was a 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.
🇸🇬 Singapore 1965 5,638,700 SG Yes Singapore has been a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) since 1970 and continues to pursue a policy of neutrality.
🇸🇪 Sweden 1834 9,600,000 SE Yes No 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 No 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 No 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 Yes Turkmenistan was a member of the Soviet Union (Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic) until it declared its independence in 1991. In 1995 Turkmenistan declared permanent neutrality, which was formally recognized by the United Nations, and included in the Turkmenistan constitution.
🇺🇦 Ukraine 2010 46,000,000 UA Observer Following independence in 1991 Ukraine joined Europe’s neutral countries. In 2008 Ukraine declared it would eventually join NATO, a decision opposed by Russia. The Ukraine has taken the first steps towards EU membership.
🇻🇦 Vatican City / Holy See 1929 800 VA No Vatican city an enclave within Rome in Italy. The Vatican city remained neutral during WWII and is the world’s smallest neutral state with an area of 110 acres (44 hectares). Vatican city has no defense forces but defense is informally provided by Italy.

The Hottest Place in Hell is Reserved for Those Who Remain Neutral in Times of Great Moral Conflict Martin Luther King Jr.

Key to Map of Neutral Countries:

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

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7 responses to “Neutral Countries”

  1. MMB says:

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

  2. Abi Gassmann says:

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

  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. 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

    • 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.

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