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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Vietnam

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Vietnam
Definition Field Listing
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military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973.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.
   Geography    Vietnam
Definition Field Listing
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
16 00 N, 106 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Southeast Asia
Definition Field Listing
total: 329,560 sq km
land: 325,360 sq km
water: 4,200 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than New Mexico
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 4,639 km
border countries: Cambodia 1,228 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 2,130 km
Definition Field Listing
3,444 km (excludes islands)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Definition Field Listing
tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (mid-May to mid-September) and warm, dry season (mid-October to mid-March)
Definition Field Listing
low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Fan Si Pan 3,144 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 17.41%
permanent crops: 4.71%
other: 77.88% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
30,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
extending 1,650 km north to south, the country is only 50 km across at its narrowest point
   People    Vietnam
Definition Field Listing
81,098,416 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 31.6% (male 13,259,152; female 12,392,089)
15-64 years: 62.9% (male 24,938,098; female 26,083,681)
65 years and over: 5.5% (male 1,749,531; female 2,675,865) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.43% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
20.89 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
6.14 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.47 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
29.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 69.86 years
female: 72.5 years (2002 est.)
male: 67.4 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.44 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.24% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
100,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
2,500 (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)
adjective: Vietnamese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Vietnamese 85%-90%, Chinese, Hmong, Thai, Khmer, Cham, mountain groups
Definition Field Listing
Buddhist, Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, Christian (predominantly Roman Catholic, some Protestant), indigenous beliefs, Muslim
Definition Field Listing
Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.7%
male: 96.5%
female: 91.2% (1995 est.)
   Government    Vietnam
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
conventional short form: Vietnam
local short form: Viet Nam
abbreviation: SRV
local long form: Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Communist state
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
58 provinces (tinh, singular and plural), and 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
Definition Field Listing
2 September 1945 (from France)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 2 September (1945)
Definition Field Listing
15 April 1992
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on communist legal theory and French civil law system
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Tran Duc LUONG (since 24 September 1997)
elections: president elected by the National Assembly from among its members for a five-year term; election last held 24 September 1997 (next to be held when National Assembly meets following legislative elections in May 2002); prime minister appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers appointed by the prime minister
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 Vu KHOAN (since NA) 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
election results: Tran Duc LUONG elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral National Assembly or Quoc-Hoi (498 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 19 May 2002 (next to be held 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - CPV 90%, other 10% (the 10% are not CPV members but are approved by the CPV to stand for election); seats by party - CPV 447, CPV-approved 51
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
only party - Communist Party of Vietnam or CPV [Nong Duc MANH, general secretary]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Nguyen Tam CHIEN
consulate(s) general: San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 861-0917
telephone: [1] (202) 861-0737
chancery: 1233 20th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Raymond F. BURGHARDT
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
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center
   Economy    Vietnam
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Vietnam is a poor, densely populated country that has had to recover from the ravages of war, the loss of financial support from the old Soviet Bloc, and the rigidities of a centrally planned economy. Substantial progress was achieved from 1986 to 1996 in moving forward from an extremely low starting point - growth averaged around 9% per year from 1993 to 1997. The 1997 Asian financial crisis highlighted the problems in the Vietnamese economy but, rather than prompting reform, reaffirmed the government's belief that shifting to a market oriented economy leads to disaster. GDP growth of 8.5% in 1997 fell to 6% in 1998 and 5% in 1999. Growth then rose to 6.8% in 2000 and dropped back to 4.7% in 2001 against the background of global recession. These numbers mask some major difficulties in economic performance. Many domestic industries, including coal, cement, steel, and paper, have reported large stockpiles of inventory and tough competition from more efficient foreign producers. Meanwhile, Vietnamese authorities have moved slowly in implementing the structural reforms needed to revitalize the economy and produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement entered into force near the end of 2001 and is expected to significantly increase Vietnam's exports to the US. The US is assisting Vietnam with implementing the legal and structural reforms called for in the agreement.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $168.1 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.7% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $2,100 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 25%
industry: 35%
services: 40% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
37% (1998 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 4%
highest 10%: 30% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
36 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
-0.3% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
38.2 million (1998 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 67%, industry and services 33% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
25% (1995 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $5.3 billion
expenditures: $5.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.8 billion (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
food processing, garments, shoes, machine building, mining, cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, coal, steel, paper
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
10.4% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
25.775 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 41%
hydro: 59%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
23.97 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
paddy rice, corn, potatoes, rubber, soybeans, coffee, tea, bananas, sugar; poultry, pigs; fish
Definition Field Listing
$15.1 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, garments, shoes
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Japan 18.1%, China 10.6%, Australia 8.8%, Singapore 6.1%, Taiwan 5.2%, Germany 5.1%, US 5.1% (2000)
Definition Field Listing
$15.3 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer, steel products, raw cotton, grain, cement, motorcycles
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Singapore 17.7%, Japan 14.4%, Taiwan 12.1%, South Korea 11.1%, China 9.1%, Thailand 5.2%, Hong Kong 3.9% (2000)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$13.2 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$2.1 billion in credits and grants pledged by international donors for 2000
Definition Field Listing
dong (VND)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
dong per US dollar - 15,085 (January 2002), 14,725 (2001), 14,168 (2000), 13,943 (1999), 13,268 (1998), 11,683 (1997)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Vietnam
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
2.6 million (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
730,155 (2000)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: Vietnam is putting considerable effort into modernization and expansion of its telecommunication system, but its performance continues to lag behind that of its more modern neighbors
domestic: all provincial exchanges are digitalized and connected to Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City by fiber-optic cable or microwave radio relay networks; since 1991, main lines in use have been substantially increased and the use of mobile telephones is growing rapidly
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 65, FM 7, shortwave 29 (1999)
Definition Field Listing
8.2 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
at least 7 (plus 13 repeaters) (1998)
Definition Field Listing
3.57 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
5 (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
400,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Vietnam
Definition Field Listing
total: 3,142 km
standard gauge: 209 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 2,625 km 1.000-m gauge
dual gauge: 308 km three-rail track combining 1.435-m and 1.000-m gauges (2001)
Definition Field Listing
total: 93,300 km
paved: 23,418 km
unpaved: 69,882 km (1996)
Definition Field Listing
17,702 km
note: more than 5,149 km are navigable at all times by vessels up to 1.8 m draft
Definition Field Listing
petroleum products 150 km
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Cam Ranh, Da Nang, Haiphong, Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Long, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Vinh, Vung Tau
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 153 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 782,912 GRT/1,173,186 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Cambodia 1, Japan 1, Singapore 1, United Kingdom 2 (2002 est.)
ships by type: bulk 9, cargo 113, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 1, container 5, liquefied gas 2, petroleum tanker 20, refrigerated cargo 2
Definition Field Listing
34 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 17
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 17
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 8 (2002)
   Military    Vietnam
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
People's Army of Vietnam (includes Ground Forces, People's Navy Command [including Naval Infantry], Air and Air Defense Force, Coast Guard)
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
17 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 22,220,891 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 13,978,653 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 961,124 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$650 million (FY98)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
2.5% (FY98)
   Transnational Issues    Vietnam
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Vietnam disputes several offshore islands with Cambodia, preventing delimitation of a maritime boundary; Cambodia accuses Vietnam of territorial encroachments and initiating armed border incidents in seven provinces; demarcation of boundaries with Laos is nearing completion, but Laos protests Vietnamese squatters; involved in a complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with China, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and possibly Brunei; maritime boundary with China in the Gulf of Tonkin still awaits ratification; Paracel Islands occupied by China but claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam; demarcation of the land boundary with China has commenced, but details of the alignment have not been made public
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
minor producer of opium poppy; probable minor transit point for Southeast Asian heroin; domestic opium/heroin/methamphetamine addiction problems

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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