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 CountriesSincePopulationISO CodeEU StateNAM memberNeutrality Status & Key Facts
Austria19558,726,000ATYesNoAustria 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.
Cambodia199315,000,000KHYesCambodia’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 Rica19494,900,000CRObserverCosta 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.
Finland19955,500,000FIYesNoFinland’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.
Ghana201226,000,000GHYesGhana 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.
Ireland19374,600,000IEYesNoIreland 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.
Japan1947127,110,000JPNoFollowing 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.
Liechtenstein186837000LINoLiechtenstein disbanded its army in 1868 because it was too costly. Liechtenstein remained neutral during WWII. Defense is informally provided by Austria and Switzerland.
Malta1980500,000MTYesNoIn 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.
Mexico1939122,000,000MXObserverMexico supported the allies during WWII and has ignored it’s historical policy on neutrality on occasions since then.
Moldova19943,600,000MDNoDeclared independence in 1991 after fall of the Soviet Union. Permanent neutrality is written into article 11 of their 1994 constitution.
Mongolia20153,081,700MNYesNeutral during WWI 1914-1918. Declared neutrality in speech at the 70th UN General Assembly.
Panama19893,900,000PAYesA treaty guarantees the neutrality of the Panama Canal.
Rwanda200911,262,600RWYesAnnounced permanent neutrality in 2009 after joining the Commonwealth of Nations.
San Marino186232000SMNoSan Marino is a 24 square mile (61 km2) enclave within Italy which remained neutral during WWI and WWII.
Serbia20077,041,600RSObserverSerbia 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.
Singapore19655,638,700SGYesSingapore has been a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) since 1970 and continues to pursue a policy of neutrality.
Sweden18349,600,000SEYesNoIn 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.
Switzerland18158,000,000CHNoSwitzerland 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 China201423,508,400TWNoActively seeking peaceful engagement with mainland China, wants to act as a buffer between the USA, mainland China and Japan.
Turkmenistan19955,200,000TMYesTurkmenistan 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 is included in the Turkmenistan constitution.
Ukraine201046,000,000UAObserverFollowing independence in 1991 Ukraine declared itself a neutral state. In 2008 Ukraine declared it would eventually join NATO which is opposed by Russia. The Ukraine has taken the first steps towards EU membership.
Vatican City1929800VANoVatican 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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Compiled by Joe Connor, last updated September 16, 2019.
Spotted a mistake or have a suggestion to improve our list of neutral countries? Please add your comments below…

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Neutral Countries

7 responses to “Neutral Countries”

  1. Avatar MMB says:

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

  2. Avatar Abi Gassmann says:

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

  3. Avatar 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. Avatar 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

    • Avatar 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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