Vietnam. Through the reform policy (Đôi Mo迂i), initiated
in 1986, the Vietnam Communist Party tried to liberalize the
economy without diminishing its power. However, during the
year, bureaucracy, unprofitable state-owned enterprises and
corruption in the administration, police and party continued
to hamper development.
Countryaah, eight arrested, two of them police, were sentenced to
death in May in Hanoi for smuggling large amounts of heroin.
Even more worrying for the rulers was that thousands of
peasants in the northern province of Thai Binh in May and
June protested violently against the taxes and abuse of
power by corrupt authorities. It was the worst unrest
reported after the country's reunification in 1975. The
regime responded by promising cleansing in local
A new National Assembly, President, Prime Minister and
Party President was appointed during the year to continue
Đôi Mo迂i. At the July 20 election, more young and
well-educated members and more women (26%) came into
Parliament. However, with 384 of its 450 seats, the
Communist Party retained its absolute grip on government
Two months later, Parliament voted for 60-year-old Trân
Đu迂c Lu迂o迂ng to become new president after leaving Lễ Đu迂c
Anh. New Prime Minister after Vo Văn Kiễt became 63-year-old
Phan Văn Khai. The rejuvenation of the country's leadership
trophy was completed in December, when the Communist Party
Central Committee appointed 66-year-old General Lễ Kha Phiễu
to succeed 80-year-old Đô Mu迂o迂i as the party's secretary
general - the highest post of the regime.
In foreign policy, Vietnam and the US normalized their
relations and exchanged the first ambassadors in May; Lễ Văn
Bang arrived in Washington and Douglas Peterson - prisoner
of war in Vietnam 1966-73 - to Hanoi. Later in the year,
Madeleine Albright visited Vietnam as the first US foreign
minister after the war.
In early November, southern Vietnam was hit by a typhoon
that killed over 580 people and robbed about 150,000 people
of their homes and crops.