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The Communist Party still exercises exclusive control over political life, but the question of whether Vietnam will continue its socio-economic development in a climate of peace and stability remains uncertain at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Vietnam occupies approximately 127,243 square miles (329,560 square kilometers), an area roughly equivalent to New Mexico, and is situated between 8 and 24 degrees latitude and 102 and 110 degrees longitude.
It borders China in the north, Laos in the northeast and center, and Cambodia in the southwest.
The name Vietnam originated in 1803 when envoys from the newly founded Nguyen dynasty traveled to Beijing to establish diplomatic relations with the Chinese court.
Many minority group members are bilingual, though not necessarily with Vietnamese as their second language. The Vietnamese government extensively employs a number of symbols to represent the nation.The Chinese objected to this new name because it was the same as an ancient state that had rebelled against Chinese rule. Vietnamese officials resented the change and it did not attain public acceptance until the late 1800s.The story of the origin of Vietnam's name captures several prominent themes that have run throughout the nation's history.The river deltas of Vietnam's two great rivers, the Red River in the north and the Mekong in the south, dominate those two regions.Both deltas feature irrigated rice agriculture that depends on the annual monsoons and river water that is distributed through immense and complicated irrigation systems.