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 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military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973.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 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 territorial sea: 12 NM continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin exclusive economic zone: 200 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: Fan Si Pan 3,144 m Natural resources: phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests, hydropower Land use: arable land: 17.41% permanent crops: 4.71% other: 77.88% (1998 est.) Irrigated land: 30,000 sq km (1998 est.) Natural hazards: occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta 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 People Vietnam Population: 81,624,716 (July 2003 est.) Age structure: 0-14 years: 30.2% (male 12,699,002; female 11,967,674) 15-64 years: 64.2% (male 25,776,600; female 26,599,005) 65 years and over: 5.6% (male 1,902,464; female 2,679,971) (2003 est.) Median age: total: 24.5 years male: 23.6 years female: 25.5 years (2002) Population growth rate: 1.29% (2003 est.) Birth rate: 19.58 births/1,000 population (2003 est.) Death rate: 6.19 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.) Net migration rate: -0.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.) Sex ratio: at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2003 est.) Infant mortality rate: total: 30.83 deaths/1,000 live births female: 26.65 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.) male: 34.71 deaths/1,000 live births Life expectancy at birth: total population: 70.05 years male: 67.58 years female: 72.7 years (2003 est.) Total fertility rate: 2.24 children born/woman (2003 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.3% (2001 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 130,000 (2001 est.) HIV/AIDS - deaths: 6,600 (2001 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: 94% male: 95.8% female: 92.3% (2003 est.) Government Vietnam Country name: 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: Communist state Capital: Hanoi Administrative divisions: 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 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) elections: president elected by the National Assembly from among its members for a five-year term; election last held 25 July 2002 (next to be held when National Assembly meets following legislative elections in 2007); 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: 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: 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 [Nong Duc MANH, general secretary] Political pressure groups and leaders: none International organization participation: ACCT, APEC, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer) Diplomatic representation in the US: 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: 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: red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center Economy Vietnam Economy - overview: 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 would lead to disaster. GDP growth of 8.5% in 1997 fell to 6% in 1998 and 5% in 1999. Growth then rose to 6% to 7% in 2000-02 even 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 to implement the structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to 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. GDP: purchasing power parity - $183.8 billion (2002 est.) GDP - real growth rate: 7% (2002 est.) GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,300 (2002 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 24% industry: 37% services: 39% (2001 est.) Population below poverty line: 37% (1998 est.) Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.6% highest 10%: 29.9% (1998) Distribution of family income - Gini index: 36.1 (1998) Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.9% (2002 est.) Labor force: 38.2 million (1998 est.) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 63%, industry and services 37% (2000 est.) Unemployment rate: 25% (1995 est.) Budget: revenues: $5.3 billion expenditures: $5.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.8 billion (1999 est.) Industries: food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building, mining, cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, coal, steel, paper Industrial production growth rate: 10.2% (2002 est.) Electricity - production: 29.8 billion kWh (2001) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 43.7% hydro: 56.3% other: 0% (2001) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 27.71 billion kWh (2001) Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001) Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2001) Oil - production: 356,700 bbl/day (2001 est.) Oil - consumption: 185,000 bbl/day (2001 est.) Oil - exports: NA (2001) Oil - imports: NA (2001) Oil - proved reserves: 1.4 billion bbl (37257) Natural gas - production: 1.3 billion cu m (2001 est.) Natural gas - consumption: 1.3 billion cu m (2001 est.) Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2001 est.) Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2001 est.) Natural gas - proved reserves: 192.6 billion cu m (37257) Agriculture - products: paddy rice, corn, potatoes, rubber, soybeans, coffee, tea, bananas, sugar; poultry, pigs; fish Exports: $16.5 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.) Exports - commodities: crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, garments, shoes Exports - partners: US 15.2%, Japan 14.9%, Australia 7.6%, China 6.6%, Germany 6.5%, Singapore 5.5%, UK 4.3% (2002) Imports: $16.8 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.) Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer, steel products, raw cotton, grain, cement, motorcycles Imports - partners: South Korea 12.7%, China 12.2%, Japan 12.1%, Singapore 11.8%, Taiwan 10.6%, Thailand 5.4% (2002) Debt - external: $14.1 billion (2001) Economic aid - recipient: $2.1 billion in credits and grants pledged by international donors for 2000 Currency: dong (VND) Currency code: VND Exchange rates: dong per US dollar - 15,325.8 (2002), 14,725.2 (2001), 14,167.7 (2000), 13,943.2 (1999), 13,268 (1998) Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Vietnam Telephones - main lines in use: 2.6 million (2000) Telephones - mobile cellular: 730,155 (2000) Telephone system: 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: AM 65, FM 7, shortwave 29 (1999) Radios: 8.2 million (1997) Television broadcast stations: at least 7 (plus 13 repeaters) (1998) Televisions: 3.57 million (1997) Internet country code: .vn Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 5 (2000) Internet users: 400,000 (2002) Transportation Vietnam Railways: 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 (2002) Highways: total: 93,300 km paved: 23,418 km unpaved: 69,882 km (1999 est.) Waterways: 17,702 km note: more than 5,149 km are navigable at all times by vessels up to 1.8 m draft Pipelines: condensate/gas 432 km; gas 210 km; oil 3 km; refined products 206 km (2003) Ports and harbors: Cam Ranh, Da Nang, Haiphong, Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Long, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Vinh, Vung Tau Merchant marine: total: 180 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,054,423 GRT/1,588,732 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Cambodia 1, Japan 1, Singapore 1, UK 2 (2002 est.) ships by type: bulk 13, cargo 128, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 1, container 9, liquefied gas 4, petroleum tanker 21, refrigerated cargo 3 Airports: 47 (2002) Airports - with paved runways: total: 24 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047 m: 4 1,524 to 2,437 m: 6 914 to 1,523 m: 7 under 914 m: 6 (2002) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 23 over 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 8 under 914 m: 12 (2002) Military Vietnam Military branches: 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: 17 years of age (2003 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 22,888,109 (2003 est.) Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 14,366,732 (2003 est.) Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 871,036 (2003 est.) Military expenditures - dollar figure: $650 million (FY98) Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.5% (FY98) Transnational Issues Vietnam Disputes - international: demarcation of the land boundary with China continues, but maritime boundary and joint fishing zone agreement remains unratified; Cambodia and Laos protest Vietnamese squatters and armed encroachments along border; China occupies Paracel Islands also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; involved in a complex dispute over Spratly Islands with China, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and possibly Brunei; claimants in November 2002 signed the "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea", a mechanism to ease tension but which fell short of a legally binding "code of conduct" Illicit drugs: 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 18 December, 2003
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