Basic information about the territory
- System of governance and political tendencies in the country
- Foreign policy of the country
The system of governance and political tendencies in the country
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is located in the east of the West Indies Peninsula on the coast of the South China Sea and is bordered by Cambodia, China and Laos. In terms of population, Vietnam is the fifteenth most populous country in the world, the ninth most populous in Asia, and therefore one of the most important potential markets for Czech entities. The capital is Hanoi, but the economic center of the country is the south of Vietnam with the largest city – Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), the city of Da Nang in central Vietnam has been developing very dynamically in recent years. The official language is Vietnamese. Check equzhou to learn more about Vietnam political system.
The official head of state is the president of the republic, who proposes nominations for the prime minister/prime minister, ministers and other constitutional officials to the parliament (unicameral National Assembly). The president is the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces, signs laws, declares amnesty, appoints ambassadors, generals and admirals of the armed forces. He is elected from among members of Parliament (National Assembly) for a period of 5 years. However, a more important role is actually played by the Prime Minister and, above all, by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (KSV), together with the Central Committee of the KSV and the Politburo.
The political system in Vietnam is based on the leading role of the KSV, which is enshrined in the constitution. The highest bodies of the KSV are the congress (National Congress), which takes place once every 5 years (the 13th congress took place in January 2021) and the central committee (175 members, meets twice a year), headed by the general secretary as the highest-ranking member Politburo (19 members). The institutions described above are often referred to as the four power pillars of the Vietnamese political system.
In recent years, Vietnam has been developing very rapidly economically and socially and is changing into a social-market economy, while politically it maintains an inclination towards communist ideas. The Communist Party of Vietnam emphasizes economic reforms and the fight against corruption as a source of its own prestige and public trust. The KSV maintains a monopoly of state power regardless of remarkable economic development and relative freedom in the economic field. The establishment of other political parties is not permitted. There is no organized opposition in the country.
The process of “doi moi” economic reforms began in 1986 due to the then disastrous economic situation. Its essence is a gradual transition to a “socialist-oriented market economy”. The main result is a visibly improving standard of living of the population and a high rate of economic growth. Vietnam thus ranks among medium-developed countries. Despite the wealth of the country as a whole, however, large disproportions still remain between large cities and rural areas.
Most of the Vietnamese leadership is characterized by pragmatism and a relative lack of interest in ideological issues, which are left to the care of party cadres. The Chinese model and development is very closely monitored by the Vietnamese leadership, but not blindly implemented. The reference framework is also represented by partners from the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Foreign policy of the country
Vietnam pursues a balanced foreign policy with an emphasis on multilateral forums, strict adherence to the principle of non-interference and neutrality in the internal political affairs of other countries, and balancing between the largest players in the region. The primary goal is to support national interests, economic development and security.
In 1992, the foreign policy concept of the Soviet Union was approved, which responded to the disintegration and transformation of the “Eastern” bloc. Vietnam has embarked on a pragmatic course aimed at developing relations with all countries with an emphasis on trade and economic cooperation, strengthening neighborly ties with Southeast Asian countries and relations in the Asia-Pacific region. Vietnam pays attention to those countries that have the potential to contribute to its socio-economic development (Japan, Republic of Korea, India). Although Vietnam respects the one-China policy, it is also intensively developing trade and economic relations with Taiwan. Check recipesinthebox for Vietnam defense and foreign policy.
Former efforts to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which Vietnam joined on 7/28/1995, corresponded to the country’s economic and geopolitical interests. Efforts to balance a powerful neighbor – the PRC – play a significant role. In 2020, Vietnam assumed the chairmanship role in ASEAN according to the rotation principle. In 1998, Vietnam became a member of APEC and hosted the APEC summit in Danang in autumn 2017. At the turn of 2006/2007, Vietnam joined the WTO.
In 2020-2021, Vietnam served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, where in 2019 it was elected as the only (endorsed) candidate for the relevant geographical group. Vietnam’s previous membership in the UNSC was for the years 2008-2009.
The issue of territorial disputes over areas in the South China Sea (for Vietnam the “East” Sea) is highly sensitive for Vietnam. At the same time, Vietnam is aware of its economic dependence on its northern neighbor. One of the biggest problems in Vietnam’s relationship with China remains the territorial dispute over the Spratly and Paracel Islands, which Vietnam considers part of its territory, and the subsequent exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, which is also claimed by some other countries in the region. The South China Sea is an economically, security and politically important area in the western part of the Pacific Ocean, through which frequent sea routes pass, oil and gas reserves and important fishing sites are located. About some islands, islets and rocks (or
In order to ensure the diversity of foreign policy azimuths, relations with the close neighbors of ASEAN, especially with India and Japan, are also coming to the fore. Vietnam maintains traditionally good, if not very intense, political relations with Russia. Since 2015, there has been rapprochement between Vietnam and the USA, which are important for Vietnam not only economically (the largest outlet for Vietnamese exports), but also from a security point of view, precisely from the point of view of balancing China in the region.
The EU perceives the VSR as one of the perspective partners in the region. Vietnam is also the second ASEAN country (after Singapore) to have concluded a free trade agreement with the EU (EUVFTA). The EU as a whole is Vietnam’s fourth largest trading partner.
According to the last census of 2019, the population of Vietnam was 9million people. According to UN statistics, the population was estimated at 98.5 million in May 2022. The average population increase in Vietnam is 0.78%. The population density is 295 per 1 km2, territorially the most densely populated areas are the Red River Delta (983 inhabitants/km2) and the Mekong Delta (432 inhabitants/km2). The absolute densest population is in Ho Chi Minh City (3809 inhabitants/km2) and Hanoi (2132 inhabitants/km2). Conversely, the population in mountainous areas is very sparse (122 inhabitants/km2). The share of the economically active population is 70.3% of the total population, i.e. approx. 68.53 million. The age of the economically active population is 15 to 64 years. Average life expectancy in 2018 was 7years (7for men and 7for women).
The ethnic composition of Vietnam is quite diverse. 86% of the population is ethnic Vietnamese (Kinh nationality), concentrated mainly in the deltas of major watercourses and coastal plain areas, 12% ethnic Chinese. The rest of the population consists of the Khmer (about 700,000 living in the southwestern Mekong Delta), the Cham (about 60,000 living mainly along the coast between Nha Trang and Phan Thiet and in An Giang Province in the Mekong Delta) and another 60 national-linguistic minorities concentrated mainly in the mountainous areas.
The majority of the population of Vietnam is of no religion (74%). The remaining 26% of the population are mainly Buddhists (Mahayana Buddhism predominates, approx. 15% of the population) and Christians (9% of the population). There are also two larger religious sects: the Hoa Hao sect (Buddhist, 1.7%) and the Cao Dai sect (0.9%), the smallest representation in Vietnam is Islam (approximately 0.1% of the population, mainly ethnic Khmer and Cham ).
The official language is Vietnamese, the most widely used foreign languages are English, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Russian and French (mostly older generations).