Country Listing

Vietnam Table of Contents



By 1985 Vietnam possessed two satellite-ground stations constructed with the assistance of the Soviet Union. The Lotus One satellite communication station was located in Ha Nam Ninh Province, 100 kilometers south of Hanoi, and served to integrate Vietnam into the Soviet Intersputnik Communication Satellite Organization. Construction began in January 1979 and was completed in July 1980 in time for the Moscow Olympics. Lotus Two was inaugurated near Ho Chi Minh City in April 1985 to broadcast the ceremonies celebrating the tenth anniversary of the end of the Second Indochina War. The system linked Moscow, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City, and the two stations were reportedly manned entirely by Soviet personnel. A French telecommunications company was installing a modern nationwide telephone system in 1987.

The installation of a national telephone system was symbolic of Hanoi's acknowledge of the country's critical need to formulate an integrated development plan that would tap the country's economic potential on a national scale. It also demonstrated the pragmatic character of a new generation of leaders who rose to power in the mid-1980s and appeared more willing than the nation's past leadership to risk economic and political reform for the sake of modernization. Reforms undertaken during this time were greeted by outside observers as a promising sign that the nation's economy might be moving at last out of its prolonged stagnation.

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Information on Vietnam's economy can be found in Vietnamese newspaper and journal articles translated and published by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service and the Joint Publications Research Service of the United States government. Additional material is published by some of Vietnam's trading partners. Primary among these is the Statistical Yearbook of the Comecon Countries, published annually by the Soviet government.

Another valuable source that combines data with some analysis is the Quarterly Economic Review of Indochina published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Analytical articles are most readily found in the Far Eastern Economic Review and in the yearly summary issues published by Asian Survey. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of December 1987