[Country map of Vietnam]



Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, between China and Cambodia

Map references: Southeast Asia

total area: 329,560 sq km
land area: 325,360 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries: total 3,818 km, Cambodia 982 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 1,555 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

International disputes: maritime boundary with Cambodia not defined; involved in a complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with China, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and possibly Brunei; unresolved maritime boundary with Thailand; maritime boundary dispute with China in the Gulf of Tonkin; Paracel Islands occupied by China but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan

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

Natural resources: phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil deposits, forests

Land use:
arable land: 22%
permanent crops: 2%
meadows and pastures: 1%
forest and woodland: 40%
other: 35%

Irrigated land: 18,300 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices are contributing to deforestation; soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threatening marine life populations; inadequate supplies of potable water because of groundwater contamination
natural hazards: occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Nuclear Test Ban


Population: 74,393,324 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36% (female 13,225,916; male 13,918,321)
15-64 years: 59% (female 22,353,710; male 21,223,739)
65 years and over: 5% (female 2,236,453; male 1,435,185) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.71% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 26.25 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 7.6 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 44.6 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 65.72 years
male: 63.66 years
female: 67.91 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.21 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)
adjective: Vietnamese

Ethnic divisions: Vietnamese 85%-90%, Chinese 3%, Muong, Thai, Meo, Khmer, Man, Cham

Religions: Buddhist, Taoist, Roman Catholic, indigenous beliefs, Islam, Protestant

Languages: Vietnamese (official), French, Chinese, English, Khmer, tribal languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1989)
total population: 88%
male: 93%
female: 83%

Labor force: 32.7 million
by occupation: agricultural 65%, industrial and service 35% (1990 est.)


conventional long form: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
conventional short form: Vietnam
local long form: Cong Hoa Chu Nghia Viet Nam
local short form: Viet Nam

Abbreviation: SRV

Digraph: VM

Type: Communist state

Capital: Hanoi

Administrative divisions: 50 provinces (tinh, singular and plural), 3 municipalities* (thu do, singular and plural); An Giang, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Bac Thai, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Can Tho, Cao Bang, Dac Lac, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Bac, Ha Giang, Ha Noi*, Ha Tay, Ha Tinh, Hai Hung, Hai Phong*, Ho Chi Minh*, Hoa Binh, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Kon Tum, Lai Chau, Lam Dong, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Long An, Minh Hai, Nam Ha, Nghe An, Ninh Binh, Ninh Thuan, Phu Yen, Quang Binh, Quang Nam-Da Nang, Quang Ngai, Quang Ninh, Quang Tri, Soc Trang, Son La, Song Be, Tay Ninh, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien-Hue, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Long, Vinh Phu, 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 Le Duc ANH (since 23 September 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister Vo Van KIET (since 9 August 1991); First Deputy Prime Minister Phan Van KHAI (since 10 August 1991); Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen KHANH (since NA February 1987); Deputy Prime Minister Tran Duc LUONG (since NA February 1987)
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the president on proposal of the prime minister and ratification of the Assembly

Legislative branch: unicameral
National Assembly (Quoc-Hoi): elections last held 19 July 1992 (next to be held NA July 1997); results - VCP is the only party; seats - (395 total) VCP or VCP-approved 395

Judicial branch: Supreme People's Court

Political parties and leaders: only party - Vietnam Communist Party (VCP), DO MUOI, general secretary


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Liaison Officer Le Van BANG
liaison office: address NA, Washington, DC
mailing address: NA
telephone: NA
note: negotiations between representatives of the US and Vietnam concluded 28 January 1995 with the signing of an agreement to establish liaison offices in Hanoi and Washington

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Liaison Officer James HALL
liaison office: address NA, Hanoi
mailing address: NA
telephone: NA
note: negotiations between representatives of the US and Vietnam concluded 28 January 1995 with the signing of an agreement to establish liaison offices in Hanoi and Washington

Flag: red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center


Overview: Vietnam has made significant progress in recent years moving away from the planned economic model toward a more effective market-based economic system. Most prices are now fully decontrolled, and the Vietnamese currency has been effectively devalued and floated at world market rates. In addition, the scope for private sector activity has been expanded, primarily through decollectivization of the agricultural sector and introduction of laws giving legal recognition to private business. Nearly three-quarters of export earnings are generated by only two commodities, rice and crude oil. Led by industry and construction, the economy did well in 1993 and 1994 with output rising 7% and 9% respectively. However, the industrial sector remains burdened by noncompetitive state-owned enterprises the government is unwilling or unable to privatize. Unemployment looms as a serious problem with roughly 20% of the work force without jobs and with population growth swelling the ranks of the labor force yearly.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $83.5 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 8.8% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $1,140 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 14.4% (1994)

Unemployment rate: 20% (1994 est.)

revenues: $3.6 billion
expenditures: $4.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1994 est.)

Exports: $3.6 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: petroleum, rice, agricultural products, marine products, coffee
partners: Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, South Korea

Imports: $4.2 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: petroleum products, machinery and equipment, steel products, fertilizer, raw cotton, grain
partners: Singapore, Japan, South Korea, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan

External debt: $4 billion Western countries; $4.5 billion CEMA debts primarily to Russia;

Industrial production: growth rate 13% (1994 est.); accounts for 21% of GDP

capacity: 2,200,000 kW
production: 9.7 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 125 kWh (1993)

Industries: food processing, textiles, machine building, mining, cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil

Agriculture: accounts for 36% of GDP; paddy rice, corn, potatoes make up 50% of farm output; commercial crops (rubber, soybeans, coffee, tea, bananas) and animal products 50%; since 1989 self-sufficient in food staple rice; fish catch of 943,100 metric tons (1989 est.); note - the third largest exporter of rice in the World, behind the US and Thailand

Illicit drugs: opium producer and increasingly important transit point for Southeast Asian heroin destined for the US and Europe; growing opium addiction; small-scale heroin producer

Economic aid:
recipient: $2 billion in credits and grants pledged by international donors for 1995, Japan largest contributor with $650 million pledged for 1995

Currency: 1 new dong (D) = 100 xu

Exchange rates: new dong (D) per US$1 - 11,000 (October 1994), 10,800 (November 1993), 8,100 (July 1991), 7,280 (December 1990), 3,996 (March 1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 3,059 km (including 224 km not restored to service after war damage)
standard gauge: 151 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 2,454 km 1.000-m gauge
other gauge: 230 km NA-m dual gauge (three rails)

total: 85,000 km
paved: 9,400 km
unpaved: gravel, improved earth 48,700 km; unimproved earth 26,900 km

Inland waterways: 17,702 km navigable; more than 5,149 km navigable at all times by vessels up to 1.8 meter draft

Pipelines: petroleum products 150 km

Ports: Da Nang, Haiphong, Ho Chi Minh City, Hon Gai, Qui Nhon, Nha Trang

Merchant marine:
total: 109 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 449,963 GRT/932,837 DWT
ships by type: bulk 3, cargo 92, oil tanker 10, refrigerated cargo 3, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1

total: 48
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 8
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 13
with paved runways under 914 m: 7
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 2
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 5
with unpaved runways under 914 m: 5


Telephone system: NA telephones; 2 telephones/1,000 persons; the inadequacies of the obsolete switching equipment and cable system are a serious constraint on the business sector and on economic growth, and restrict access to the international links that Vietnam has established with most major countries; the telephone system is not generally available for private use
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 3 satellite earth stations

broadcast stations: AM NA, FM 228, shortwave 0
radios: 7 million (1991)

broadcast stations: 36 (repeaters 77)
televisions: 2.5 million (1991)

Defense Forces

Branches: People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN; includes Ground forces, Navy (includes Naval Infantry), and Air Force

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 18,799,370; males fit for military service 11,913,116; males reach military age (17) annually 742,394 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $435 million, 2.5% of GDP (1994)