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Southeast asia

The meaning of «southeast asia»

Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are south of China, east of the Indian subcontinent and north-west of Australia.[5] Southeast Asia is bordered to the north by East Asia, to the west by South Asia and the Bay of Bengal, to the east by Oceania and the Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Australia and the Indian Ocean. Apart from the British Indian Ocean Territory and two out of 26 atolls of Maldives in South Asia, Southeast Asia is the only other subregion of Asia that lies partly within the Southern Hemisphere. The majority of the subregion is still in the Northern Hemisphere. East Timor and the southern portion of Indonesia are the only parts that are south of the Equator.

In contemporary definition, Southeast Asia consists of two geographic regions:

The region lies near the intersection of geological plates, with both heavy seismic and volcanic activities. The Sunda Plate is the main plate of the region, featuring almost all Southeast Asian countries except Myanmar, northern Thailand, northern Laos, northern Vietnam, and northern Luzon of the Philippines. The mountain ranges in Myanmar, Thailand, and Peninsular Malaysia are part of the Alpide belt, while the islands of the Philippines are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Both seismic belts meet in Indonesia, causing the region to have relatively high occurrences of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.[7]

It covers about 4,500,000 km2 (1,700,000 sq mi), which is 10.5% of Asia or 3% of Earth's total land area. Its total population is more than 655 million, about 8.5% of the world's population. It is the third most populous geographical region in Asia after South Asia and East Asia.[8] The region is culturally and ethnically diverse, with hundreds of languages spoken by different ethnic groups.[9] Ten countries in the region are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a regional organization established for economic, political, military, educational and cultural integration amongst its members.[10]

The region, together with part of South Asia, was well known by Europeans as the East Indies or simply the Indies until the 20th century. Chinese sources referred the region as Nanyang ("南洋"), which literally means the "Southern Ocean". The mainland section of Southeast Asia was referred to as Indochina by European geographers due to its location between China and the Indian subcontinent and its having cultural influences from both neighboring regions. In the 20th century, however, the term became more restricted to territories of the former French Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). The maritime section of Southeast Asia is also known as the Malay Archipelago, a term derived from the European concept of a Malay race.[11] Another term for Maritime Southeast Asia is Insulindia (Indian Islands), used to describe the region between Indochina and Australasia.[12]

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