East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. The modern states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. China, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan are all unrecognized by at least one other East Asian state due to severe ongoing political tensions in the region, specifically the division of Korea and the political status of Taiwan. Hong Kong and Macau, two small coastal quasi-dependent territories located in the south of China, are officially highly autonomous but are under de jure Chinese sovereignty. Siberia borders East Asia's north, Southeast Asia the south, South Asia the southwest and Central Asia the west. To the east is the Pacific Ocean and to the southeast is Micronesia. East Asia, especially Chinese civilization, is regarded as one of the earliest cradles of civilization.