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China Shares Border With 14 Countries But Has Territorial Disputes With Over 18

China has locked horns with 18 countries over territorial disputes, despite sharing borders with only 14. Here's the conclusive list of Chinese border claims.


Even as China resolutely states allegations of its 'expansionism' are baseless, and has started a worldwide PR campaign that includes actors and foreign ministers, at this very moment, it has locked horns with as many as 18 countries. The red dragon's insatiable hunger may well exceed that of 19th and 20th-century empires who constantly engaged in territorial disputes and full-blown wars.

The Galwan Valley clash is barely the tip of the iceberg. While most of China's territorial disputes are with its neighbours, it is known to bully others, not necessarily only smaller countries into submission as well. A tactic that has often irked the US for its "rogue" behaviour.

Almost all of China's territorial disputes are historical in nature and the allegations made against it are not entirely baseless as Xi Jinping's government claims. A plethora of countries apart from India have in the past and currently continue to be antagonised by China, namely, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and even its closest allies North Korea and Russia.

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The People's Republic of China has been historically involved in territorial disputes with many countries that share borders with it both historically and at present, this also often includes the entire South China Sea region and at times, international waters as well. This is a direct result of the Xi Jinping government's stipulated 'One-China' policy, which aims to unify a large portion of Asia that at some point belonged to China in the last century.

While China claims the territories are all theirs, the reality is far from the truth: Here are 18 countries that have faced China's aggressive expansionist policies since the last century:


Bhutanese enclaves in Tibet, Kula Kangri, mountains in the west and the Haa district. Other smaller areas include Cherkip Gompa, Dho, Dungmar, Sanmar, Tarchen and more

2008, 2016

Spratly Islands



Parts of the country on historical merit dating all the way back to 700 years

Qing Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, 13th century  – 19th century


Aksai Chin, Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh. Wars and stand-off have led to a permanent PLA presence in the region along the LAC

1962, 1967, 2011, 2017, 2020


Parts of South China Sea

Currently still disputed


Senkaku Islands, Ryukuku Islands, parts of Japan’s territorial waters in South China Sea. Multiple disputes since the Qing dynasty periods

Clashes in 1884, 1895, 1972, 2011, 2013, 2015


Claims originating from historical precedent, primarily annexed between 12th century to 17th century

Dormant dispute

Parts of South China Sea, particularly Spratly Islands and James Shoal reefs

1971, 2009 and historical claims


China claims all of Mongolia on historical account, although for a major part of its history, it was Mongolian leaders starting from Genghis Khan who controlled China

Yuan, Qing, Ming dynasties. Still owns Inner Mongolia


Claims Nepal belonged to Tibet, and Tibet China claims is an integral part of China too

1788-1792 (Sino-Nepalese war) constant tug of war in Nepal’s northern borders

North Korea

Mount Baekdu, Mount Jiandao and in the past has claimed all of North Korea as part of China on territorial grounds

Ryanggang province since formation (1954)


Parts of South China Sea. The Philippines took the issue to the ICJ and won the case, China continues to ignore



Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai; despite 4 different treaties and returning 100s islands and numerous rivers, China continues to claims more than 160,000kms in Russia’s far-east

1860, 1991, 1994 and 2004


Parts of South China Sea, contested and claimed by China, despite having no actual boundary with the tiny island nation in the Malaya region


South Korea

Parts of East China Sea, claims all of South Korea’s lands and international waters on historical grounds

Ryanggang province since formation (1954)


All of its territory based on historical precedent

Qing Dynasty, 1644-1912


China claims all of Taiwan’s lands as its own and does not take lightly to dissent in the region

Since 1949


Paracel Islands, Macclesfield Bank and large parts of Chinese territories (historical precedent claim). Fresh conquests and construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea

1364-1644 (constant dispute) 1990’s 2011, 2013

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It is evident from these aggressive land grabs that China’s hunger for territory and power is ceaseless and has in the course of history led to several disasters and loss of life. The above list is not exhaustive as it does not even mention Kyrgyzstan, Khazakstan (Xinjiang claim), Tibet, Hong Kong and Macau. Myanmar is another country that has often cosied up to China to thwart rebel groups in its lands but it also has territorial claims with Taiwan and India, lands that are also coincidentally in dispute with China. The horrors met out to the people in these countries are a grave concern for human rights watch organisations and activists from around the world.

South China Sea, in particular, is a problematic region as the waters surrounding the islands are considered to hold enormous economic potential in the form of untapped natural resources. China has time and again retaliated by building islands to further its reach in the waters as well as man the waters with Navy and aircraft carriers as a way to intimidate its smaller neighbours who also have an equal right to the waters and its resources, which the dragon nation ignores and dismisses for its own national interest.

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Territorial Disputes and Resource Management: A Global Handbook by Rongxing Guo

Kautilya Fellows Programme—Foreign policy resource book

War or Peace in the South China Sea by Timo Kivimaki

Asia Online Resource Centre

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