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The conquest of Vietnam by France began in 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina in 1887. Vietnam declared independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by Communist forces under Ho Chi MINH. Under the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the Communist North and anti-Communist South. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later, North Vietnamese forces overran the South reuniting the country under Communist rule. Despite the return of peace, for over a decade the country experienced little economic growth because of conservative leadership policies, the persecution and mass exodus of individuals - many of them successful South Vietnamese merchants - and growing international isolation. However, since the enactment of Vietnam's "doi moi" (renovation) policy in 1986, Vietnamese authorities have committed to increased economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The Communist leaders, however, maintain control on political expression and have resisted outside calls to improve human rights. The country continues to experience small-scale protests from various groups - the vast majority connected to land-use issues, calls for increased political space, and the lack of equitable mechanisms for resolving disputes. Various ethnic minorities, such as the Montagnards of the Central Highlands and the Khmer Krom in the southern delta region, have also held protests.


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Military

Military branches
People's Armed Forces: People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN; includes People's Navy Command (with Naval Infantry, Coast Guard), Air and Air Defense Force (Khong Quan Nhan Dan), Border Defense Command), People's Public Security Forces, Militia Force, Self-Defense Forces (2010)

Military service age and obligation
18 years of age for male compulsory military service; females may volunteer for active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years (3 to 4 years in the navy); 18-45 years of age (male) or 18-40 years of age (female) for Militia Force or Self Defense Forces (2006)

Manpower available for military service
Males age 16-49 25,649,738
Females age 16-49 24,995,692 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
Males age 16-49 20,405,847
Females age 16-49 21,098,102 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
Male 847,743
Female 787,341 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures World Ranking: 59
2.5% of GDP (2005 est.)


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  Vietnam (Hanoi):


  GPS points from Vietnam (Hanoi)

Xuan Thoi Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh

Sa Cai Tinh Thai Binh

Nui Tien Tinh Lang Son

Phu Si Pa Phin Tinh Lai Chau

Duc An (1) Vietnam (general)

Som Thuong Vietnam (general)

Trung Ly Vietnam (general)

Ngok Peng Buk Vietnam (general)




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