The 14 lesser-known countries of the Asia Pacific

December 3, 2018 14:39 PM Bipana Thapa


KATHMANDU, Dec 3: The Asia Pacific Summit saw a participation of 45 countries -- from big nations to smaller, rarely known.

The Asia Pacific region consists of Australia, Japan, Palau, Bangladesh, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Bhutan, Laos, Peru, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Burma, Maldives, Russia, Cambodia, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Canada, Micronesia, Singapore, China, Mongolia, Solomon Islands, Chile, Nauru, South Korea, Cook Islands, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Fiji, New Zealand, Thailand, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Timor-Leste, India, Niue, Tonga, Indonesia, North Korea, Tuvalu, Pakistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and United States.

But have you heard of them all?  

Here are 14 lesser-known countries of the region and what they are famous for.

1.PALAU

Capital: Melekeok
President: Thomas Remengesau Jr.
Famous for: scuba diving and snorkeling with jellyfishes.

The Republic of Palau is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. The country consists of approximately 340 islands, forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia, and has an area of 466 square kilometers.

2. KIRIBATI

Capital: Tarawa
President: Taneti Mamau
Famous for: world-class fly-fishing, great scuba diving, and astounding seabird wildlife.

The Republic of Kiribati is a sovereign state in Micronesia in the central Pacific Ocean. 

3. MARSHALL ISLANDS

Capital: Majuro
President: Hilda Heine
Famous for: There is an island in the Marshall Islands called the “Bikini Island”. It is used as a nuclear testing site for the United States Program called Operation Crossroads.

The Marshall Islands are a sprawling chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the central Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines.

4. SAMOA

Capital: Apia
President: Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi
Famous for: reef-bordered beaches and rugged, rainforested interiors with gorges and waterfalls. 

The Independent State of Samoa is a country consisting of two main islands Savai'i and Upolu with four smaller islands surrounding the landmasses. 

5. MICRONESIA

Capital: Palikir
President: Peter M. Christian
Famous for: Chuuk is most famous for its world-class scuba diving spots, while the forests which flourish in Kosrae's two major marine parks are among the most pristine in all of Micronesia.

Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, consists of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south, it shares cultural history with two island regions.

6. SOLOMON ISLANDS

Capital: Honiara
Prime Minister: Rick Houenipwela
Famous for: Tourist Attractions in the Solomon Islands both natural and cultural, its golden palm fringed beaches, blue waters, magnificent coral reefs, and an amazing sea life.

The Solomon Islands is a sovereign state including six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu. It covers a land area of 28,400 square kilometers (11,000 sq mi).

7. NAURU

Capital: Yaren
President: Baron Waqa
Famous for: a coral reef and white-sand beaches fringed with palms, including Anibare Bay on the east coast. 

The Republic of Nauru, formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia, a subregion of Oceania, in the Central Pacific.

8. COOK ISLANDS

Capital: Avarua
Prime Minister: Henry Puna
Famous for: number of snorkeling and scuba-diving sites.

The Cook Islands is a self-governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand comprising 15 islands whose total land area is 240 square kilometers (92.7 sq mi). 

9. FRENCH POLYNESIA

Capital: Papeete
President: Edouard Fritch
Famous for: its reef breaks waves.

French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic and the only overseas country of France. It consists of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) in the South Pacific Ocean. Its total land area is 4,167 square kilometers (1,609 sq mi).

10. NEW CALEDONIA

Capital: Noumea
President: Philippe Germain
Famous for: A barrier reef surrounds New Caledonia's main island of Grand Terre, creating one of the world's largest tropical lagoons - and a sizable marine reserve is less than a half-hour boat ride from Noumea.

New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France in the southwest Pacific Ocean, 1,210 km (750 mi) east of Australia and 20,000 km (12,000 mi) from Metropolitan France.

11. NIUE

Capital: Alofi
President: Toke Talagi
Famous for: Niue is a large upraised coral atoll, and is a standalone land mass in the center of a triangle of Polynesian islands made up of Tonga, Samoa, and the Cook Islands. 

An island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometers (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand, east of Tonga, south of Samoa, and west of the Cook Islands, Niue consists land area about 261 square kilometers (101 sq mi).

12. TONGA

Capital: Nuku’alofa
Prime Minister: Akilisi Pohiva
Famous for: The sheltered and uncrowded lagoons and atolls, getting a unique perspective on Tonga’s pristine landscapes.

The Kingdom of Tonga is a Polynesian country and archipelago consisting 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. The total surface area is about 750 square kilometers (290 sq mi) scattered over 700,000 square kilometers (270,000 sq mi) of the southern Pacific Ocean. 

13.TUVALU

Capital: Funafuti
Prime Minister: Enele Sopoaga
Famous for: calm waters for diving and snorkeling among sea turtles and tropical fish

Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu is a Polynesian island country located in the Pacific Ocean, situated in Oceania, about midway between Hawaii and Australia. It lies east-northeast of the Santa Cruz Islands (belonging to the Solomons), southeast of Nauru, south of Kiribati, west of Tokelau, northwest of Samoa and Wallis and Futuna and north of Fiji.

14: VANUATU

Capital: Port Vila
President: Tallis Obed Moses
Famous for: Port Vila, National Museum of Vanuatu and diving that explores the nation’s Melanesian culture.

The Republic of Vanuatu is a Pacific island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is 1,750 kilometers (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia, 540 kilometers (340 mi) northeast of New Caledonia, east of New Guinea, southeast of the Solomon Islands, and west of Fiji.


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