Geography of the Countries Bordering China

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China is the world's third-largest country based on area and the world's largest based on population. It is a developing nation with a fast-growing economy that is controlled politically by communist leadership.

Today, China is bordered by 14 different countries that range from small nations such as Bhutan to very large ones like Russia and India. The following list of the border countries is ordered based on land area.

Population (based on July 2017 estimates) and capital cities have also been included for reference. All statistical information has been obtained from the CIA World Factbook. More about China can be found in "The Geography and Modern History of China."

Countries Bordering China, Largest to Smallest

Land area: 6,601,668 square miles (17,098,242 sq km)
Population: 142,257,519
Capital: Moscow

On the Russian side of the border, there's forest; on the Chinese side, there are plantations and agriculture. In one spot on the border, people from China can see both Russia and North Korea.

Land area: 1,269,219 square miles (3,287,263 sq km)
Population: 1,281,935,911
Capital: New Delhi

A 2,485-mile (4,000-km) border area between India, China, and Bhutan, called the Line of Actual Control, is in dispute between the countries and seeing military buildup and construction of new roads.

Land area: 1,052,090 square miles (2,724,900 sq km)
Population: 18,556,698
Capital: Astana

Khorgos, a new land transport hub on the border of Kazakhstan and China, is surrounded by mountains and plains. By 2020, the goal is to have it be the world's largest "dry port" for shipping and receiving. New railways and roads are under construction. 

Land area: 603,908 square miles (1,564,116 sq km)
Population: 3,068,243
Capital: Ulaanbaatar

The Mongolian border with China features a desert landscape, courtesy of the Gobi, and Erlian is a fossil hotspot, albeit a very remote one.

Land area: 307,374 square miles (796,095 sq km)
Population: 204,924,861
Capital: Islamabad

The border crossing between Pakistan and China is among the highest borders in the world. The Khunjerab Pass is at 15,092 feet (4,600 m) above sea level.

Burma (Myanmar)
Land area: 261,228 square miles (676,578 sq km)
Population: 55,123,814
Capital: Rangoon (Yangon)

It's tense along the mountainous border between Burma (Myanmar) and China, as it's a common spot for illegal trade of wildlife and charcoal.

Land area: 251,827 square miles (652,230 sq km)
Population: 34,124,811
Capital: Kabul

Another high mountainous pass is the Wakhjir Pass, between Afghanistan and China, at more than 15,748 feet (4,800 m) above sea level.

Land area: 127,881 square miles (331,210 sq km)
Population: 96,160,163
Capital: Hanoi

The site of a bloody war with China in 1979, the China-Vietnam border saw a dramatic increase in tourism in 2017 because of a change in the visa policy.

Land area: 91,429 square miles (236,800 sq km)
Population: 7,126,706
Capital: Vientiane

Construction was underway in 2017 on a rail line from China through Laos for ease of moving goods.

It took 16 years to get moving and will cost nearly half of what was Laos' 2016 gross domestic product ($6 billion cost, $13.7 GDP). 

Land area: 77,201 square miles (199,951 sq km)
Population: 5,789,122
Capital: Bishkek

Crossing between China and Kyrgyzstan on the Irkeshtam Pass, you'll find rust and sand-colored mountains and the beautiful Alay Valley.

Land area: 56,827 square miles (147,181 sq km)
Population: 29,384,297
Capital: Kathmandu

It took two years to rebuild the Himalayan road from Lhasa, Tibet, to Kathmandu, Nepal, damaged by the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal and reopen the China-Nepal border crossing to international visitors. 

Land area: 55,637 square miles (144,100 sq km)
Population: 8,468,555
Capital: Dushanbe

Tajikistan and China officially ended a century-old border dispute in 2011, where Tajikistan ceded some Pamir mountain land.

There, in 2017, China completed the Lowari tunnel in the Wakhan Corridor for all-weather access between the four countries of Tajikistan, China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. 

North Korea
Land area: 46,540 square miles (120,538 sq km)
Population: 25,248,140
Capital: Pyongyang

In December 2017, it was leaked that China was planning to build refugee camps along its North Korea border, just in case they would be needed.

Land area: 14,824 square miles (38,394 sq km)
Population: 758,288
Capital: Thimpu

The border of China, India, and Bhutan has a disputed region on the Doklam plateau. India supports Bhutan's border claim to the area.

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Briney, Amanda. "Geography of the Countries Bordering China." ThoughtCo, Feb. 11, 2018, Briney, Amanda. (2018, February 11). Geography of the Countries Bordering China. Retrieved from Briney, Amanda. "Geography of the Countries Bordering China." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 20, 2018).