The elongated Vietnam in Southeast Asia is
dominated by two densely populated Delta areas. A
rebellion against colonial power France in 1946 marked
the beginning of three decades of war. Since the country
was divided in 1954, fighting broke out between
Communist North Vietnam and the US-supported South
Vietnam. When the war was over and the country could be
reunited, millions of Vietnamese had lost their lives.
Today, Vietnam is a communist one-party state with a
Brief profiles of Vietnam, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Vietnam extends over 160 kilometers along the
Gulf of Tonkin Bay, the South China Sea and Siam Bay in southeast Asia. The country is located in
the tropical region and especially in the south the
climate is hot and humid.
Vietnam borders China, Laos and Cambodia and is the
surface as three quarters of Sweden. Where it is at its
narrowest, the country is only five miles from the coast
to the border to the west.
Two fertile and densely populated river deltas, with
great historical and economic significance, are located
at each end of the country. In the north, the Red River
(Song Hong) is the largest of several rivers that flow
through the Chinese border mountains, forming a delta
area on the Gulf of Tonkin. The most important tributary
is the Black River (Song Da). The capital city of Hanoi
is located in the delta, as is the port city of Haiphong.
In southern Vietnam, the Mekong, one of Asia's
largest rivers, flows into a vast delta towards the
South China Sea. The Mekong delta is more than twice the
delta of the Red River. On its outskirts is the
country's largest city, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly
The land border itself extends largely through
hard-to-reach mountain areas. The Hoang Lien Mountains
in the north pass further south in Truong Son, or the
Annamite Mountains, which form a central highland. The
coasts are usually lowland, although the mountains in
their places project all the way out into the sea.
Vietnam, like many other countries, claims the
uninhabited Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South
China Sea (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
Mostly tropical climate
As a large part of the country is mountainous, the
climate is in some places more subtropical than
tropical. In the north and at high altitudes it can even
be really cool.
Most precipitation falls between April and October,
when the southwest monsoon sweeps in from Siamviken. In
parts of the central lowlands, however, it rains most
during the winter's northeast monsoon.
The winter winds also bring cold air from China to
the northern parts of the country, and in Hanoi in
January the temperature can drop to near zero at night.
The typical winter weather in the Red River delta, where
Hanoi is located, is a cool drizzle and fog. During the
summer, the northern and central coastal regions are
rarely affected by devastating storms, typhoons, from
the South China Sea.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
331 114 km2 (2018)
Swedish +6 hours
Adjacent country (s)
China, Laos, Cambodia
Capital with number of residents
Hanoi 4,500,000 (UN estimate 2019)
Other major cities
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) 8,400,000, Can Tho
1,500,000, Haiphong 1,300,000, Da Nang 1,100,000 (UN
Fan Si Pan (3 143 m asl)
Mekong, Red River (Song Hong), Black River (Song Da)
Average Precipitation / month
Hanoi 343 mm (Aug), 18 mm (Jan)
Average / day
Hanoi 30 °C (June), 17 °C (Jan)
Two famous bloggers are arrested
Two prominent bloggers, Nguyen Quang Lap and Hong Le Tho, are arrested by Ho
Chi Minh City police, suspected of state propaganda. According to the
organization Reporters Without Borders, 34 bloggers are imprisoned in Vietnam.
Bloggare is released
Regime-critical blogger Nguyen Van Hai, who was sentenced to 12 years in
prison for "propaganda against the state" (see April 2008,
October 2008, September 2012, June
2013 and July 2013), is released quickly and
unexpectedly and immediately flies to the United States.
Chinese oil rig is moved
Beijing states that the oil rig that triggered a serious conflict between
China and Vietnam is now being relocated from the Paracel Islands upon
completion of the mission.
Japanese contribution is missing
Japan, which is Vietnam's largest lender, suspends the disbursement of aid
money and calls for anti-corruption efforts (see May 2014).
Another Chinese oil rig
Beijing announces that China will ship a second oil rig to the disputed area
of the Paracel Islands.
Rich businessman prison
One of Vietnam's richest businessmen, Nguyen Duc Kien, is sentenced to 30
years in prison for tax fraud and fraud in the multi-million class. Nguyen, who
is known as the founder of Asia Commercial Bank and has owned a successful
football team in Hanoi, has been detained since 2012. He was previously close
ally with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, but has ended up in disgrace.
Railway manager suspected of bribery
Former head of railroad Nguyen Huu Bang is arrested on suspicion of bribery
in which over $ 780,000 has been paid by a Japanese company to gain access to
Japanese aid money in Vietnam. Six other employees at the railway company have
also been arrested.
Critical position after deployment of oil rig
Tensions have risen since China placed an oil rig in the disputed waters of
the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
Several confrontations between Chinese and Vietnamese military occur and on one
occasion a Vietnamese fishing boat is lowered. Demonstrations that degenerate
into riots follow around Vietnam. A number of Chinese, Taiwanese and South
Korean owned factories are set on fire and information is available on several
deaths. Hundreds of ethnic Chinese are fleeing the country and China is
evacuating around 3,000 citizens.
Two more bloggers are arrested
Two more bloggers are arrested for publishing articles with "poor material
and incorrect information that diminishes the prestige and confidence of
government agencies". Over 30 bloggers are now detained in Vietnam.
Well-known democracy activists are released
Three well-known democracy activists are released early from prison. The
releases occur in conjunction with the country negotiating with the United
States on a major free trade agreement, TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). Ngyuen
Tien Trung, who has served nearly five years of a seven-year prison sentence,
will now face three years in house arrest. We Duc Hoi has served 4.5 out of five
years in prison and will spend five years in house arrest. The third prisoner,
Cu Huy Ha Vu, is released after three years in prison. All three were convicted
of various kinds of crimes against the state and the regime.
Two bloggers are sentenced to prison
Journalist and blogger Truong Duy Nhat is sentenced to two years in prison
for anti-state activities (see May 2013). Also, blogger Pham
Viet Dao is sentenced to similar crimes, to prison for 15 months (see
Diplomat seeks asylum in Switzerland
Diplomat Dang Xuong Hung, consul in Geneva 2008–2012, seeks asylum in
Switzerland, saying that the Vietnamese one-party state persecutes anyone who
disagrees with the official line.
Vietin Bank in big fraud
The judges fall into one of the country's biggest fraud cases ever. A female
bank official in Vietinbank is sentenced to life imprisonment for fraud totaling
approximately $ 200 million. Twenty-two other people in the fraud scene are
sentenced to imprisonment, for up to 20 years.
Thirty are sentenced to death for heroin smuggling
A Quang Ninh province court sentenced 30 people to death for heroin
smuggling. Dozens of defendants are sentenced to imprisonment for between two
years and a life sentence. The convicted are part of a network that has smuggled
drugs from Laos through Vietnam and China. When the network was unveiled in
2012, police seized nearly two tons of heroin.
Sentenced to death should have bribed politicians
In ongoing court hearings on the Vinalines embezzlement (see December
2013), one of the convicts claims he paid large sums of money to
high-ranking leaders in the Communist Party in an attempt to avoid being
arrested and charged.