Vietnam

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The conquest of Vietnam by France began in 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina in 1887. Vietnam declared independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by communist forces under Ho Chi MINH. Under the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the communist North and anti-communist South. 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military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973.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 reuniting the country under communist rule. Despite the return of peace, for over a decade the country experienced little economic growth because of conservative leadership policies, the persecution and mass exodus of individuals - many of them successful South Vietnamese merchants - and growing international isolation. However, since the enactment of Vietnam's "doi moi" (renovation) policy in 1986, Vietnamese authorities have committed to increased economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The communist leaders maintain tight control on political expression but have demonstrated some modest steps toward better protection of human rights. The country continues to experience small-scale protests, the vast majority connected to either land-use issues, calls for increased political space, or the lack of equitable mechanisms for resolving disputes. The small-scale protests in the urban areas are often organized by human rights activists, but many occur in rural areas and involve various ethnic minorities such as the Montagnards of the Central Highlands, H'mong in the Northwest Highlands, and the Khmer Krom in the southern delta region.

Geography

Location

Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, as well as China, Laos, and Cambodia

Geographic coordinates

16.10° N, 107.50° E

Area 66/257

total: 331,210 sq km

land: 310,070 sq km

water: 21,140 sq km

Area - comparative

about three times the size of Tennesee; slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries

total: 4,616 km

border countries (3): Cambodia 1,158 km, China 1,297 km, Laos 2,161 km

Coastline

3,444 km (excludes islands)

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

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

Climate

tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (May to September) and warm, dry season (October to March)

Terrain

low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: South China Sea 0 m

highest point: Fan Si Pan 3,144 m

Natural resources

phosphates, coal, manganese, rare earth elements, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, timber, hydropower, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 34.8%

arable land 20.6%; permanent crops 12.1%; permanent pasture 2.1%

forest: 45%

other: 20.2% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

45,850 sq km (2005)

Total renewable water resources

884.1 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 82.03 cu km/yr (1%/4%/95%)

per capita: 965 cu m/yr (2005)

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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

extending 1,650 km north to south, the country is only 50 km across at its narrowest point

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)

adjective: Vietnamese

Ethnic groups

Kinh (Viet) 85.7%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.8%, Muong 1.5%, Khmer 1.5%, Mong 1.2%, Nung 1.1%, others 5.3% (1999 census)

Languages

Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer, mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

Religions

Buddhist 9.3%, Catholic 6.7%, Hoa Hao 1.5%, Cao Dai 1.1%, Protestant 0.5%, Muslim 0.1%, none 80.8% (1999 census)

Population 15/238

94,348,835 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 24.1% (male 11,948,130/female 10,786,381)

15-24 years: 17.22% (male 8,411,108/female 7,833,327)

25-54 years: 45.05% (male 21,358,647/female 21,145,416)

55-64 years: 7.81% (male 3,376,706/female 3,995,035)

65 years and over: 5.82% (male 2,115,057/female 3,379,028) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 42.5%

youth dependency ratio: 32.9%

elderly dependency ratio: 9.6%

potential support ratio: 10.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 29.6 years

male: 28.5 years

female: 30.7 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 119/233

0.97% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 121/224

15.96 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 169/225

5.93 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 127/222

-0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 33.6% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 2.95% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

Ho Chi Minh City 7.298 million; HANOI (capital) 3.629 million; Can Tho 1.175 million; Haiphong 1.075 million; Da Nang 952,000; Bien Hoa 834,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.11 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.11 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.85 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 101/184

54 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 96/224

total: 18.39 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 18.75 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 17.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 132/224

total population: 73.16 years

male: 70.69 years

female: 75.9 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 147/224

1.83 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

78.1% (2011)

Health expenditures 92/191

6% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

1.19 physicians/1,000 population (2013)

Hospital bed density

2 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 99.1% of population

rural: 96.9% of population

total: 97.6% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0.9% of population

rural: 3.1% of population

total: 2.4% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 94.4% of population

rural: 69.7% of population

total: 78% of population

unimproved:

urban: 5.6% of population

rural: 30.3% of population

total: 22% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.47% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

250,200 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

10,600 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 186/191

3.5% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 60/138

12% (2011)

Education expenditures 33/173

6.3% of GDP (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 124/134

total: 6%

male: 5.3%

female: 6.8% (2013 est.)

Government

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

name: Hanoi (Ha Noi)

geographic coordinates: 21.02° N, 105.51° E

time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

58 provinces (tinh, singular and plural) and 5 municipalities (thanh pho, singular and plural)

provinces: 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, Cao Bang, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Dien Bien, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Giang, Ha Nam, Ha Tinh, Hai Duong, Hau Giang, Hoa Binh, 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

municipalities: Can Tho, Da Nang, Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Independence

2 September 1945 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 2 September (1945)

Constitution

several previous; latest adopted 15 April 1992, effective 1 January 1995; amended 2001, 2013 (2015)

Legal system

civil law system; note - the civil code of 2005 reflects a European-style civil law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Vietnam

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Truong Tan SANG (since 25 July 2011); Vice President Nguyen Thi DOAN (since 25 July 2007)

head of government: Prime Minister Nguyen Tan DUNG (since 27 June 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers Hoang Trung HAI (since 2 August 2007), Vu Van NINH (since 3 August 2011), Nguyen Xuan PHUC (since 3 August 2011), Vu Duc DAM (since 13 November 2013), Pham Binh MINH (since 13 November 2013)

cabinet: Cabinet proposed by prime minister, appointed by the president, and confirmed by the National Assembly

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by National Assembly from among its members for a single 5-year term; election last held on 25 July 2011 (next to be held in spring 2016); prime minister appointed by the president from among members of the National Assembly, confirmed by National Assembly; deputy prime ministers appointed by the prime minister, confirmed by National Assembly

election results: Truong Tan SANG (CPV) elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 97%; Nguyen Tan DUNG elected prime minister; percent of National Assembly vote - 94%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Quoc Hoi (500 seats; members directly elected by absolute majority vote with a second round if needed; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 22 May 2011 (next to be held in May 2016)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPV 458, non-party CPV-approved 38, self-nominated 4; note - 500 candidates were elected; the 496 CPV and non-party CPV-approved delegates were members of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front and were vetted prior to the election

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme People's Court (consists of the chief justice and 13 judges)

judge selection and term of office: chief justice elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president for a 5-year, renewable term; other judges appointed by the president for 5-year terms

subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; administrative, civil, criminal, economic, and labor courts; Central Military Court; People's Special Courts; note - the National Assembly can establish special tribunals

Political parties and leaders

Communist Party of Vietnam or CPV [Nguyen Phu TRONG]

note: other parties proscribed

Political pressure groups and leaders

8406 Bloc

Democratic Party of Vietnam or DPV

People's Democratic Party Vietnam or PDP-VN

Alliance for Democracy

note: these groups advocate democracy but are not recognized by the government

International organization participation

ADB, APEC, ARF, ASEAN, CICA, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description

red field with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center; red symbolizes revolution and blood, the five-pointed star represents the five elements of the populace - peasants, workers, intellectuals, traders, and soldiers - that unite to build socialism

National symbol(s)

yellow, five-pointed star on red field; lotus blossom; national colors: red, yellow

National anthem

name: "Tien quan ca" (The Song of the Marching Troops)

lyrics/music: Nguyen Van CAO

note: adopted as the national anthem of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945; it became the national anthem of the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976; although it consists of two verses, only the first is used as the official anthem

Economy

Economy - overview

Vietnam is a densely populated developing country that has been transitioning from the rigidities of a centrally-planned economy since 1986. Agriculture's share of economic output has shrunk from about 25% in 2000 to 18% in 2014, while industry's share increased from 36% to 38% in the same period. State-owned enterprises now account for only about 40% of GDP.

Vietnamese authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to economic modernization and a more open economy. Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization in January 2007, which has promoted more competitive, export-driven industries. Vietnam was one of the 12-nations that concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement negotiations in 2015.

Hanoi has oscillated between promoting growth and emphasizing macroeconomic stability in recent years. During 2015, Vietnam's managed currency, the dong, depreciated about 5%. Poverty has declined significantly, and Vietnam is working to create jobs to meet the challenge of a labor force that is growing by more than one million people every year.

Vietnam is trying to reform its economy by restructuring public investment, state-owned enterprises, and the banking sector, although Hanoi’s progress in meeting its goals is lagging behind the proposed schedule. Vietnam's economy continues to face challenges from an undercapitalized banking sector and nonperforming loans.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 36/230

$551.3 billion (2015 est.)

$517.6 billion (2014 est.)

$488.4 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$198.8 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 23/225

6.5% (2015 est.)

6% (2014 est.)

5.4% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 159/230

$6,100 (2015 est.)

$5,700 (2014 est.)

$5,400 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 53/179

24.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

30.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

31.1% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 66.5%

government consumption: 6.2%

investment in fixed capital: 24.4%

investment in inventories: 1.7%

exports of goods and services: 86.8%

imports of goods and services: -85.6%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 17.4%

industry: 38.8%

services: 43.7% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

rice, coffee, rubber, tea, pepper, soybeans, cashews, sugar cane, peanuts, bananas; poultry; fish, seafood

Industries

food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building; mining, coal, steel; cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, mobile phones

Industrial production growth rate 15/202

7.5% (2015 est.)

Labor force 12/233

54.93 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 48%

industry: 21%

services: 31% (2012)

Unemployment rate 25/207

3% (2015 est.)

3.4% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

11.3% (2012 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.2%

highest 10%: 30.2% (2008)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 77/144

37.6 (2008)

36.1 (1998)

Budget

revenues: $39.61 billion

expenditures: $47.39 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 160/219

19.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 144/220

-3.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 72/176

52.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

52.9% of GDP (2014 est.)

note: official data; data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 67/226

0.9% (2015 est.)

4.1% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 31/156

9% (31 December 2012)

15% (31 December 2011)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 107/184

8.1% (31 December 2015 est.)

8.67% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 46/192

$63.48 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$56.12 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 37/193

$261.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$235 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 40/191

$232.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$209.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 56/121

$38.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

$26 billion (31 December 2011)

$37 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 37/197

$1.342 billion (2015 est.)

$9.144 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 28/224

$158.7 billion (2015 est.)

$150.2 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

clothes, shoes, electronics, seafood, crude oil, rice, coffee, wooden products, machinery

Exports - partners

US 20%, China 10.4%, Japan 10.3%, South Korea 5% (2014)

Imports 29/223

$150.4 billion (2015 est.)

$138.1 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and equipment, petroleum products, steel products, raw materials for the clothing and shoe industries, electronics, plastics, automobiles

Imports - partners

China 30.4%, South Korea 15%, Japan 8.9%, Thailand 4.9%, Singapore 4.7%, US 4.4% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 45/170

$39.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$34.58 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 57/206

$69.76 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$65.46 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 45/120

$100.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$90.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 65/105

$7.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

$5.3 billion (31 December 2008)

Exchange rates

dong (VND) per US dollar -

21,928 (2015 est.)

21,189 (2014 est.)

21,189 (2013 est.)

20,859 (2012 est.)

20,649 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 32/220

118.2 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 32/219

108.3 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 54/218

1.078 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports 50/219

3.254 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 34/214

24.54 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 152/214

48.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 205/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 48/214

50.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 113/212

0.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 32/214

298,400 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 32/214

179,500 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 145/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 25/215

4.4 billion bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 64/214

150,500 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 34/212

471,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 67/214

34,670 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 24/213

298,400 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 45/216

8.8 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 48/215

8.8 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 207/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 77/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 29/212

699.4 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 37/212

131.7 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 28/219

total subscriptions: 5.56 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 10/217

total: 136.1 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 146 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: Vietnam is putting considerable effort into modernization and expansion of its telecommunication system

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; main lines have been increased, and the use of mobile telephones is growing rapidly

international: country code - 84; a landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3, the C2C, and Thailand-Vietnam-Hong Kong submarine cable systems; the Asia-America Gateway submarine cable system, completed in 2009, provided new access links to Asia and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) (2011)

Broadcast media

government controls all broadcast media exercising oversight through the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC); government-controlled national TV provider, Vietnam Television (VTV), operates a network of 9 channels with several regional broadcasting centers; programming is relayed nationwide via a network of provincial and municipal TV stations; law limits access to satellite TV but many households are able to access foreign programming via home satellite equipment; government-controlled Voice of Vietnam, the national radio broadcaster, broadcasts on 6 channels and is repeated on AM, FM, and shortwave stations throughout Vietnam (2008)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 65, FM 7, shortwave 29 (1999)

Television broadcast stations

67 (includes 61 relay, provincial, and city TV stations) (2006)

Internet country code

.vn

Internet hosts 74/232

189,553 (2012)

Internet users 16/217

total: 40.1 million

percent of population: 43.0% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 97/236

45 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 38

over 3,047 m: 10

2,438 to 3,047 m: 6

1,524 to 2,437 m: 13

914 to 1,523 m: 9 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 3 (2013)

Heliports

1 (2013)

Pipelines

condensate 72 km; condensate/gas 398 km; gas 955 km; oil 128 km; oil/gas/water 33 km; refined products 206 km; water 13 km (2013)

Railways 64/136

total: 2,600 km

standard gauge: 178 km 1.435-m gauge; 253 km mixed gauge

narrow gauge: 2,169 km 1.000-m gauge (2014)

Roadways 24/223

total: 195,468 km

paved: 148,338 km

unpaved: 47,130 km (2013)

Waterways 4/107

47,130 km (30,831 km weight under 50 tons) (2011)

Merchant marine 20/156

total: 579

by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 142, cargo 335, chemical tanker 23, container 19, liquefied gas 7, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 48, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 1

registered in other countries: 86 (Cambodia 1, Kiribati 2, Mongolia 33, Panama 43, Taiwan 1, Tuvalu 6) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Cam Pha Port, Da Nang, Haiphong, Phu My, Quy Nhon

river port(s): Ho Chi Minh (Mekong)

container port(s) (TEUs): Haiphong (1,018,794), Saigon New Port (3,071,777)

Military and Security

Military branches

People's Armed Forces: People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN; includes Vietnam People's Navy (with Naval Infantry), Vietnam People's Air and Air Defense Force, Border Defense Command, Coast Guard) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for male compulsory and voluntary military service; females may volunteer for active duty military service; conscription typically takes place twice annually and service obligation is 18 months (Army, Air Defense), 2 years (Navy and Air Force); 18-45 years of age (male) or 18-40 years of age (female) for Militia Force or Self Defense Force service; males may enroll in military schools at age 17 (2013)

Military expenditures 33/132

2.37% of GDP (2012)

2.17% of GDP (2011)

2.37% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; Cambodia and Laos protest Vietnamese squatters and armed encroachments along border; Cambodia accuses Vietnam of a wide variety of illicit cross-border activities; progress on a joint development area with Cambodia is hampered by an unresolved dispute over sovereignty of offshore islands; an estimated 300,000 Vietnamese refugees reside in China; establishment of a maritime boundary with Cambodia is hampered by unresolved dispute over the sovereignty of offshore islands; the decade-long demarcation of the China-Vietnam land boundary was completed in 2009; China occupies the Paracel Islands also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; Brunei claims a maritime boundary extending beyond as far as a median with Vietnam, thus asserting an implicit claim to Lousia Reef; the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct" desired by several of the disputants; Vietnam continues to expand construction of facilities in the Spratly Islands; in March 2005, the national oil companies of China, the Philippines, and Vietnam signed a joint accord to conduct marine seismic activities in the Spratly Islands; Economic Exclusion Zone negotiations with Indonesia are ongoing, and the two countries in Fall 2011 agreed to work together to reduce illegal fishing along their maritime boundary

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 11,000 (2013); note - Vietnam's stateless ethnic Chinese Cambodian population dates to the 1970s when thousands of Cambodians fled to Vietnam to escape the Khmer Rouge and were no longer recognized as Cambodian citizens; Vietnamese women who gave up their citizenship to marry foreign men have found themselves stateless after divorcing and returning home to Vietnam; the government addressed this problem in 2009, and Vietnamese women are beginning to reclaim their citizenship

Illicit drugs

minor producer of opium poppy; probable minor transit point for Southeast Asian heroin; government continues to face domestic opium/heroin/methamphetamine addiction problems despite longstanding crackdowns; enforces the death penalty for drug trafficking