What Are the Neighboring Countries of the Philippines?

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The Philippines closest neighboring countries are Taiwan to the north and Malaysia to the south. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are west of the country, while the eastern Philippines’ closest neighbors are Palau and the Marianas Islands. Located at the southeastern rim of the Asian continent, the Philippines is surrounded by the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea from all sides.

The country’s location and proximity with other countries often lead to territorial disputes. China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines all claim the Kalayaan Islands, which lie to the west of the Philippines and are east of Vietnam. All of the disputing countries have been slowly establishing their own outposts on smaller islands. Malaysia and the Philippines also have territorial disputes over Sabah, one of the two Malaysian states situated north of Borneo. The Philippines presents itself as the successor of the state based on the former territories of the Sultanate of Sulu, while Malaysia considers the residents of Sabah citizens of Malaysia.

Despite both Vietnam and the Philippines’ claim over the Kalayaan Islands, the two countries’ relationship can be described as friendly. Both countries are opposed to China’s claim on the South China Sea and are both committed to bringing about a multilateral diplomatic solution to the disputed territory.