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Map of East Asia
Area 11,839,074 km2 (4,571,092 sq mi)[note 1]
Population 134 /km2 (350 /sq mi)
China People's Republic of China
Nominal GDP (2011) $ 14.878 Trillion
GDP per capita (2011) $ 9,409
Time zones UTC +7:00 (Western Mongolia) to UTC +9:00 (Japan and Korean Peninsula)
Capital cities China Beijing
North Korea Pyongyang
South Korea Seoul
Other major cities South Korea Busan
South Korea Incheon
Taiwan New Taipei
East Asia or Eastern Asia (the latter form preferred by the United Nations) is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms. Geographically and geopolitically, it covers about 12,000,000 km2 (4,600,000 sq mi), or about 28% of the Asian continent, about 15% bigger than the area of Europe.
More than 1.5 billion people, about 38% of the population of Asia or 22% of all the people in the world, live in East Asia, about twice Europe's population. The region is one of the world's most populated places, with a population density of 133 inhabitants per square kilometre (340 /sq mi), being about three times the world average of 45 /km2 (120 /sq mi), although Mongolia has the lowest population density of a sovereign state. Using the UN subregion definitions, it ranks second in population only to Southern Asia.
Historically, many societies in East Asia have been part of the Chinese cultural sphere, and East Asian vocabulary and scripts are often derived from Classical Chinese and Chinese script. Sometimes Northeast Asia is used to denote Japan and Korea. Major religions include Buddhism (mostly Mahayana), Confucianism or Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion in China, Shinto in Japan, Taoism in Taiwan, Shamanism in Korea, Mongolia and other indigenous populations of northern East Asia, and recently Christianity in South Korea. The Chinese Calendar is the root from which many other East Asian calendars are derived.
Uses of the term East Asia
Regions of Asia as defined by UN:
The UN subregion of Eastern Asia and other common definitions of East Asia contain the entirety of the People's Republic of China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan.[note 2]
Culturally, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam are commonly seen as being encompassed by cultural East Asia.
There are mixed debates around the world whether these countries or regions should be considered in east Asia or not.
Vietnam (considered either East Asia or Southeast Asiahere the primary question is geographic due to it being part of the Sinosphere)
Siberia in Russia (considered either East Asia or North Asiahere the primary question is political, with culture and geography also at issue)
In business and economics, East Asia has been used to refer to a wide geographical area covering ten countries in ASEAN, People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan[note 2]. However, in this context, the term "Far East" is often more appropriate which covers ASEAN countries and the traditional countries in East Asia. Far East describes the region's geographical position in relation to Europe rather than its location within Asia. Alternatively, the term "Asia Pacific Region" is often used in describing the Far East region as well as Oceania.
In contrast to the United Nations definition, East Asia commonly is used to refer to the eastern part of Asia, as the term implies. Observers preferring a broader definition of 'East Asia' often use the term Northeast Asia to refer to the greater China area, the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan, and Japan, with Southeast Asia covering the ten ASEAN countries. This usage, which is increasingly widespread in economic and diplomatic discussion, is at odds with the historical meanings of both "East Asia" and "Northeast Asia". The Council on Foreign Relations defines Northeast Asia as Japan and Korea