AreaTotal 331,690 km2
Country Profile: Vietnam
Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east. With a population of over 86 million, Vietnam is the 13th most populous country in the world.
The people of Vietnam regained independence and broke away from China in AD 938. Successive dynasties flourished along with geographic and political expansion deeper into Southeast Asia, until it was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century. Efforts to resist the French eventually led to their expulsion from the country in the mid-20th century, leaving a nation divided politically into two countries. Fighting between the two sides continued during the Vietnam War, ending with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.
According to the 2005 National Environmental Present Condition Report in terms of species diversity Vietnam is one of twenty five countries considered to possess a high level of biodiversity, and is ranked 16th in biological diversity (having 16% world's species). Over 15,986 flora were identified within Vietnam, making it one of the largest in the world. Statistics indicate that there are 307 nematodes, 200 oligochaeta, 145 acarina, 113 springtails, 7750 insects, 260 reptiles, 120 amphibians, 840 birds and 310 mammals of which 100 birds and 78 mammals are endemic. In agricultural genetic diversity, Vietnam is one of the world's twelve original cultivar centers. The Vietnam National Cultivar Gene Bank is preserving 12,300 cultivars of 115 species. The Vietnamese government spent 49.07 million USD for preserving biodiversity in 2004 and has established 126 conservation areas including 28 national parks. Vietnam has taken the steps to protect its natural wonders and to embark on research and studies to understand and combat climate change and global warming.
Historically, Vietnam has been an agricultural civilization based on wet rice cultivating. The Government created a planned economy for the nation. Collectivization of farms, factories and economic capital was implemented, and millions of people were put to work in government programs. Vietnam achieved around 8% annual GDP growth from 1990 to 1997 and continued at around 7% from 2000 to 2005, making it the world's second-fastest growing economy. Simultaneously, foreign investment grew threefold and domestic savings quintupled. Manufacturing, information technology and high-tech industries form a large and fast-growing part of the national economy. Vietnam is a relative newcomer to the oil business, but today it is the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia with output of 400,000 barrels per day. Vietnam is one of Asia's most open economies: two-way trade is around 160% of GDP, more than twice the ratio for China and over four times India's.
The modern transport network of Vietnam was originally developed under French rule for the purpose of raw materials harvesting, and reconstructed and extensively modernized following the Vietnam War. The road system is the most popular form of transportation in the country. Vietnam’s road system includes national roads administered by the central level, provincial roads managed by the provincial level, district roads managed by the district level, urban roads managed by cities and towns and commune roads managed by the commune level.
Bicycles, motor scooters and motorcycles remain the most popular forms of road transport in Vietnam's cities, towns, and villages although the number of privately-owned automobiles is also on the rise, especially in the larger cities. Public bus operated by private companies is the main long distance travel means for many people. Traffic congestion is a serious problem in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as the cities' roads struggle to cope with the booming numbers of automobiles. There are also more than 17,000 km of navigable waterways, which play a significant role in rural life owing to the extensive network of rivers in Vietnam.
The people of Vietnam speak Vietnamese as a native language. In its early history, Vietnamese writing used Chinese characters. In the 13th century, the Vietnamese developed their own set of characters called Chu Nom. Various other languages are spoken by several minority groups in Vietnam. The most common of these are Tày, MÆ°á»ng, Khmer, Chinese, Nùng, and H'Mông. The French language, a legacy of colonial rule, is still spoken by some older Vietnamese as a second language, but is losing its popularity. Russian — and to a much lesser extent German, Czech, or Polish — is sometimes known among those whose families had ties with the Soviet bloc. In recent years, English is becoming more popular as a second language. English study is obligatory in most schools. Chinese and Japanese have also become more popular.
Science and Technology
Historically, Vietnamese scholars did not practice "science" in its generally accepted meaning, but many academic fields were well-developed, especially social sciences and humanities. It has at least ten centuries of commentary and analytic writings. In mathematics, arithmetics and geometry has been taught in schools since the 15th century.
As one of the world's fastest growing economies, Vietnam will continue to grow, and also to remain a leader in research and studies for global warming and climate change as they have an incredible amount of natural beauty and bio-diversity to protect.
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