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military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973.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.



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

Map references

Southeast Asia


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


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


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


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


mean elevation: 398 m
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

46,000 sq km (2012)

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

Population growth rate

0.95% (2016 est.)


95,261,021 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)
adjective: Vietnamese

Health expenditures

7.1% of GDP (2014)

Ethnic groups

Kinh (Viet) 85.7%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.8%, Muong 1.5%, Khmer 1.5%, Mong 1.2%, Nung 1.1%, Hoa 1%, other 4.3%
note: 54 ethnic groups are recognized by the Vietnamese Government (2009 est.)


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


Buddhist 7.9%, Catholic 6.6%, Hoa Hao 1.7%, Cao Dai 0.9%, Protestant 0.9%, Muslim 0.1%, none 81.8% (2009 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 23.84% (male 11,938,563/female 10,767,261)
15-24 years: 16.69% (male 8,240,861/female 7,658,711)
25-54 years: 45.22% (male 21,690,214/female 21,390,448)
55-64 years: 8.24% (male 3,610,716/female 4,238,569)
65 years and over: 6.01% (male 2,216,485/female 3,509,193) (2016 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: 30.1 years
male: 28.9 years
female: 31.2 years (2016 est.)

Birth rate

15.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

5.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


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: 1.08 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 (2016 est.)

Child labor - children ages 5-14

total number: 2,545,616
percentage: 16% (2006 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

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

Infant mortality rate

total: 17.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 73.4 years
male: 70.9 years
female: 76.2 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.82 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

78.1% (2011)

Physicians density

1.19 physicians/1,000 population (2013)

Hospital bed density

2 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source

urban: 99.1% of population
rural: 96.9% of population
total: 97.6% of population
urban: 0.9% of population
rural: 3.1% of population
total: 2.4% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 94.4% of population
rural: 69.7% of population
total: 78% of population
urban: 5.6% of population
rural: 30.3% of population
total: 22% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.48% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

255,100 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

8,900 (2015 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Japanese encephalitis (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

3.5% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

12.1% (2013)

Education expenditures

5.7% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.5%
male: 96.3%
female: 92.8% (2015 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 6%
male: 5.3%
female: 6.8% (2013 est.)


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
etymology: "Viet nam" translates as "Viet south" where "Viet" is an ethnic self identification dating to a second century B.C. kingdom and "nam" refers to its location in relation to other Viet kingdoms

Government type

communist state


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)


2 September 1945 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 2 September (1945)


several previous; latest adopted 15 April 1992, effective 1 January 1995; amended 2001, 2013 (2016)

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 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


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Tran Dai QUANG (since 2 April 2016); Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc THINH (since 7 April 2016)
head of government: Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan PHUC (since 7 April 2016); Deputy Prime Ministers Truong Hoa BINH (since 9 April 2016), Vuong Dinh HUE (since 9 April 2016), Vu Duc DAM (since 13 November 2013), Trinh Dinh DUNG (since 9 April 2016), 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 2 April 2016 (next to be held in spring 2021); 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: Tran Dai QUANG (CPV) elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 98.9%; Nguyen Xuan PHUC elected prime minister; percent of National Assembly vote - 91.0%

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 2016 (next to be held in May 2021)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPV 475, non-party CPV-approved 19, self-nominated 2; note - 496 candidates were elected

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

National symbol(s)

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

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Pham Quang VINH (since 23 February 2015)
chancery: 1233 20th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 861-0737
FAX: [1] (202) 861-0917
consulate(s) general: Houston, San Francisco
consulate: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Ted G. OSIUS III (since 16 December 2014)
embassy: Rose Garden Building, 170 Ngoc Khanh St., Hanoi
mailing address: 7 Lang Ha Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi; 4550 Hanoi Place, Washington, DC 20521-4550
telephone: [84] (4) 3850-5000
FAX: [84] (4) 3850-5010
consulate(s) general: Ho Chi Minh City

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 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


Industrial production growth rate

7% (2016 est.)

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 17% in 2016, while industry's share in

Vietnamese authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to economic modernization and a more open economy. Vietnam joined the WTO in January 2007, which has promoted more competitive, export-driven industries. Vietnam was one of 12-nations that concluded

Hanoi has oscillated between promoting growth and emphasizing macroeconomic stability in recent years. 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 millio

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 challe

In 2016 Vietnam cancelled its civilian nuclear energy development program, citing public concerns about safety and the high cost of the program. As the 2017 APEC chair, Vietnam will lead the regional dialogue on key APEC priorities such as inclusive growt

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$594.9 billion (2016 est.)
$560.7 billion (2015 est.)
$525.6 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$200.5 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

6.1% (2016 est.)
6.7% (2015 est.)
6% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$6,400 (2016 est.)
$6,100 (2015 est.)
$5,800 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

28.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
28.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
31.9% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 65.6%
government consumption: 6.5%
investment in fixed capital: 25.7%
investment in inventories: 3.9%
exports of goods and services: 89.6%
imports of goods and services: -91.3% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 17%
industry: 39%
services: 44% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

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


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

Labor force

54.93 million (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 48%
industry: 21%
services: 31% (2012)

Unemployment rate

3.7% (2016 est.)
3.5% (2015 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

37.6 (2008)
36.1 (1998)


revenues: $48.04 billion
expenditures: $57.21 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

24% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-4.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

54.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
54.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: 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 i

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.8% (2016 est.)
0.9% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

9% (31 December 2012)
15% (31 December 2011)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

6.8% (31 December 2016 est.)
7.12% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$74.94 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$62.92 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$300.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$256.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$285.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$239.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$51.88 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$46.07 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$40.06 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Current account balance

$770 million (2016 est.)
$906 million (2015 est.)


$169.2 billion (2016 est.)
$162.1 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

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

Exports - partners

US 21.2%, China 13.3%, Japan 8.4%, South Korea 5.5%, Germany 4.1% (2015)


$161 billion (2016 est.)
$154.7 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

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

Imports - partners

China 34.1%, South Korea 14.3%, Singapore 6.5%, Japan 6.4%, Hong Kong 5.1%, Thailand 4.5% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$34.66 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$28.62 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$78.88 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$73.33 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$114.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$102.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$7.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
$5.3 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Exchange rates

dong (VND) per US dollar -
22,347 (2016 est.)
21,909 (2015 est.)
21,909 (2014 est.)
21,189 (2013 est.)
20,859 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 2,600,000
electrification - total population: 99%
electrification - urban areas: 100%
electrification - rural areas: 98% (2013)

Electricity - production

135 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

125 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

1.5 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - imports

4.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

39 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

48.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

50.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

333,400 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

163,100 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

4.4 billion bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

141,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

392,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

27,740 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

211,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

8.99 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

8.99 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

699.4 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

142 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 5.9 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 122 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 129 (July 2015 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 stat (2015)

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 broadcas (2008)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 49.741 million
percent of population: 52.7% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 4
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 140
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 29,944,771
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 384,470,240 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

VN (2016)


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)


1 (2013)


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)


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)


total: 195,468 km
paved: 148,338 km
unpaved: 47,130 km (2013)


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

Merchant marine

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)

Transportation - note

the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the South China Sea as high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous commercial vessels have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; hijacked vessels are often disguised and cargo diverted to ports in East Asia; crews have been murdered or cast adrift


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

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 (2015); 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