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Location & Geography

Vietnam is located on Indochinese peninsula and occupies about 331,211.6 square kilometers, of which about 25% was under cultivation in 1987. It borders the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia. The S-shaped country has a north-to-south distance of 1,650 kilometers and is about 50 kilometers wide at the narrowest point. With a coastline of 3,260 kilometers, excluding islands, Vietnam claims 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi) as the limit of its territorial waters, an additional 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi) as a contiguous customs and security zone, and 200 nautical miles (370.4 km; 230.2 mi) as an exclusive economic zone.

The boundary with Laos, settled on both an ethnic and geographical basis, between the rulers of Vietnam and Laos in the mid-seventeenth century with the Annamite Range as a reference, was formally defined by a delimitation treaty signed in 1977 and ratified in 1986. The frontier with Cambodia, defined at the time of French annexation of the western part of the Mekong Delta in 1867, remained essentially unchanged, according to Hanoi, until some unresolved border issues were finally settled in the 1982-85 period. The land and sea boundary with China, delineated under the France-China treaties of 1887 and 1895, is "the frontier line" accepted by Hanoi that China agreed in 1957- 58 to respect. However, in February 1979, following China's limited invasion of Vietnam, Hanoi complained that from 1957 onward China had provoked numerous border incidents as part of its anti-Vietnam policy and expansionist designs in Southeast Asia. Among the territorial infringements cited was the Chinese occupation in January 1974 of the Paracel Islands, claimed by both countries in a dispute left unresolved in the 1980s.

  • Vietnam is located on Indochinese peninsula and occupies about 331,211.6 square kilometers, of which about 25% was under cultivation in 1987. It borders the...
  • Vietnam has a history as rich and evocative as anywhere on the planet. Sure, the American War in Vietnam captured the attention of the West, but centuries...
  •  The Culture of Vietnam, an agricultural civilization based on the cultivation of wet rice, is one of the oldest in East Asia; the...
  • Overview Climate Vietnam is located in both a tropical and a temperate zone. It is characterized by strong monsoon influences, but has a considerable amount...
  • The economy of Vietnam is a developing market economy. Since the mid 1980s, through the  reform period, Vietnam has made a shift from a centrally...
  • Today there are about 86 million people in Vietnam. Eighty percent of these are ethnic Vietnamese, while the remaining twenty percent comprises more than...
  • Holidays By far the largest holiday of the year is Tết, celebration of the New Year (as marked by the lunar calendar), which takes place between late...
  • National identity is a complex and contentious issue. One of the most basic components is the Vietnamese language. Many Vietnamese are tremendously proud of...
  • Vietnam is home to fifty-four official ethnic groups, the majority of which live in highland areas, although some large groups such the Cham or Chinese live...

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