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Vietnam    Introduction Top of Page
Background: France occupied all of Vietnam by 1884. Independence was declared after World War II, but the French continued to rule until 1954 when they were defeated by communist forces under Ho Chi MINH, who took control of the north. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later North Vietnamese forces overran the south. Economic reconstruction of the reunited country has proven difficult as aging Communist Party leaders have only grudgingly initiated reforms necessary for a free market.
Vietnam    Geography Top of Page
Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia
Geographic coordinates: 16 00 N, 106 00 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total:  329,560 sq km

land:  325,360 sq km

water:  4,200 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than New Mexico
Land boundaries: total:  4,639 km

border countries:  Cambodia 1,228 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 2,130 km
Coastline: 3,444 km (excludes islands)
Maritime claims: contiguous zone:  24 NM

continental shelf:  200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin

exclusive economic zone:  200 NM

territorial sea:  12 NM
Climate: tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (mid-May to mid-September) and warm, dry season (mid-October to mid-March)
Terrain: low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest
Elevation extremes: lowest point:  South China Sea 0 m

highest point:  Ngoc Linh 3,143 m
Natural resources: phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests, hydropower
Land use: arable land:  17%

permanent crops:  4%

permanent pastures:  1%

forests and woodland:  30%

other:  48% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 18,600 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding
Environment - current issues: logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threaten marine life populations; groundwater contamination limits potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration are rapidly degrading environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
Environment - international agreements: party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified:  Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: extending 1,650 km north to south, the country is only 50 km across at its narrowest point
Vietnam    People Top of Page
Population: 79,939,014 (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years:  32.13% (male 13,266,585; female 12,415,384)

15-64 years:  62.44% (male 24,357,343; female 25,556,187)

65 years and over:  5.43% (male 1,722,094; female 2,621,421) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.45% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 21.23 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 6.22 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.49 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth:  1.07 male(s)/female

under 15 years:  1.07 male(s)/female

15-64 years:  0.95 male(s)/female

65 years and over:  0.66 male(s)/female

total population:  0.97 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 30.24 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population:  69.56 years

male:  67.12 years

female:  72.19 years (2001 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.49 children born/woman (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.24% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 100,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 2,500 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun:  Vietnamese (singular and plural)

adjective:  Vietnamese
Ethnic groups: Vietnamese 85%-90%, Chinese, Hmong, Thai, Khmer, Cham, mountain groups
Religions: Buddhist, Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, Christian (predominantly Roman Catholic, some Protestant), indigenous beliefs, Muslim
Languages: Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
Literacy: definition:  age 15 and over can read and write

total population:  93.7%

male:  96.5%

female:  91.2% (1995 est.)
Vietnam    Government Top of Page
Country name: conventional long form:  Socialist Republic of Vietnam

conventional short form:  Vietnam

local long form:  Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam

local short form:  Viet Nam

abbreviation:  SRV
Government type: Communist state
Capital: Hanoi
Administrative divisions: 58 provinces (tinh, singular and plural), 3 municipalities* (thu do, singular and plural); An Giang, Bac Giang, Bac Kan, Bac Lieu, Bac Ninh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau, Can Tho, Cao Bang, Dac Lak, Da Nang, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Giang, Hai Duong, Hai Phong*, Ha Nam, Ha Noi*, Ha Tay, Ha Tinh, Hoa Binh, Ho Chi Minh*, Hung Yen, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Kon Tum, Lai Chau, Lam Dong, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Long An, Nam Dinh, Nghe An, Ninh Binh, Ninh Thuan, Phu Tho, Phu Yen, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Quang Ninh, Quang Tri, Soc Trang, Son La, Tay Ninh, Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien-Hue, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Long, Vinh Phuc, Yen Bai
Independence: 2 September 1945 (from France)
National holiday: Independence Day, 2 September (1945)
Constitution: 15 April 1992
Legal system: based on communist legal theory and French civil law system
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state:  President Tran Duc LUONG (since 24 September 1997) and Vice President Nguyen Thi BINH (since NA October 1992)

head of government:  Prime Minister Phan Van KHAI (since 25 September 1997); First Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan DUNG (since 29 September 1997); Deputy Prime Ministers Nguyen Cong TAN (since 29 September 1997) and Pham Gia KHIEM (since 29 September 1997)

cabinet:  Cabinet appointed by the president on the proposal of the prime minister and ratification of the National Assembly

elections:  president elected by the National Assembly from among its members for a five-year term; election last held 25 September 1997 (next to be held when National Assembly meets following legislative elections in NA 2002); prime minister appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers appointed by the prime minister

election results:  Tran Duc LUONG elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Quoc-Hoi (450 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections:  last held 20 July 1997 (next to be held NA 2002)

election results:  percent of vote by party - CPV 92%, other 8% (the 8% are not CPV members but are approved by the CPV to stand for election); seats by party - CPV or CPV-approved 450
Judicial branch: Supreme People's Court (chief justice is elected for a five-year term by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president)
Political parties and leaders: only party - Communist Party of Vietnam or CPV [Le Kha PHIEU, general secretary]
Political pressure groups and leaders: none
International organization participation: ACCT, APEC, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, CCC, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador Nguyen Tam CHIEN

chancery:  1233 20th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036

telephone:  [1] (202) 861-0737

FAX:  [1] (202) 861-0917

consulate(s) general:  San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Robert PORTER

embassy:  7 Lang Ha Road, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

mailing address:  PSC 461, Box 400, FPO AP 96521-0002

telephone:  [84] (4) 772-1500

FAX:  [84] (4) 772-1510

consulate(s) general:  Ho Chi Minh City