Vietnam: Unified, Independent and Poor

March 18, 1988

Report Outline
Special Focus


The war with the United States has been over for more than a decade, and, for one of the rare times in its history, a united Vietnam is free of foreign control. But Vietnamese troops occupy neighboring Cambodia, relations with China are tense, the U.S. trade embargo continues, and the economy, despite attempts at reform, is a mess.

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On a cool Saturday morning in January, the smell of charcoal cooking fires permeates the village of An Duong on the outskirts of Hanoi. A little after 7 o'clock, four schoolboys enter a courtyard in which a 12-foot high obelisk sits atop a 2-foot high brick platform. One of the boys knocks loose a brick while his pals quickly collect others. They line them up to make a little wall across the platform. Out come two well-used paddles and a pingpong ball. The before-school game begins.

An old woman listens for a few minutes while an American visitor speaks with the youngsters, Then motions to the American. She squats down and writes with a stick in the dust: “250,” Erasing that with a sweep of the hand, she then writes “ngay 21-12-72”—“the day December 21, 1972.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Vietnam War
Feb. 18, 2000  Legacy of the Vietnam War
Dec. 03, 1993  U.S.-Vietnam Relations
Mar. 18, 1988  Vietnam: Unified, Independent and Poor
Jul. 06, 1984  Agent Orange: The Continuing Debate
Nov. 04, 1983  MIAs: Decade of Frustration
Mar. 11, 1983  Vietnam War Reconsidered
Oct. 21, 1977  Vietnam Veterans: Continuing Readjustment
Jan. 18, 1974  Vietnam Aftermath
Feb. 21, 1973  Vietnam Veterans
Jun. 09, 1971  Prospects for Democracy in South Vietnam
May 06, 1970  Cambodia and Laos: the Widening War
Jan. 07, 1970  War Atrocities and the Law
Jul. 02, 1969  Resolution of Conflicts
Apr. 17, 1968  Reconstruction in South Vietnam
Aug. 23, 1967  Political Evolution in South Viet Nam
Jan. 11, 1967  Rural Pacification in South Viet Nam
May 26, 1965  Political Instability in South Viet Nam
Mar. 25, 1964  Neutralization in Southeast Asia
Apr. 17, 1963  Task in South Viet Nam
Jun. 14, 1961  Guerrilla Warfare
May 17, 1961  Threatened Viet Nam
Sep. 23, 1959  Menaced Laos
International Economic Development
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
U.S. at War: Vietnam