Country Listing

Vietnam Table of Contents



Party and Government: Democratic Republic of (North) and former Republic of (South) Vietnam united to form Socialist Republic of Vietnam on July 2, 1976. Constitution adapted in 1980 stipulates National Assembly as highest governing body. Members serve five-year terms and nominally directly elected by electorate. Council of State, which serves as collective presidency, and Council of Ministers, which manages governmental activities, nominally accountable to, and elected by, National Assembly. Political power effectively in hands of Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP, Viet Nam Cong San Dang). Most government positions filled by party members, who act at direction of party. Party led by National Party Congress, which meets infrequently. Congress elects Central Committee, which in turn elects Political Bureau, party's highest policy-making body.

Administrative Divisions: Country divided into thirtysix provinces, three autonomous municipalities, and one special zone. Provinces divided into districts, towns, and capitals.

Judicial System: Supreme People's Court; local People's Courts at provincial, district, and city levels; military tribunals; and People's Supreme Organ of Control. National Assembly elects Procurator General, who heads People's Supreme Organ of Control and performs overall administration of justice.

Foreign Affairs: Vietnam dominated Laos through numerous Hanoi-dictated cooperation agreements; most important-- Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in 1977. Occupied Cambodia as result of military conquest in January 1979 and subsequently negotiated Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. Relations with China marked by China's limited invasion in 1979 and frequent border skirmishes. Formally aligned with Soviet Union through Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in November 1978. Both countries shared membership in Council for Mutual Economic Assistance ( Comecon--see Glossary); Soviet Union largest donor of economic and military aid. Limited governmental and commercial ties established with all Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members but prevented from developing further by ASEAN's opposition to Vietnam's Cambodia policy. In 1988 no diplomatic relations with United States, which maintained economic boycott against Vietnam and stressed Vietnam's cooperation in accounting for servicemen missing in action as prerequisite to normal relations. Admitted to membership in United Nations in 1977.

Data as of December 1987