Eight years after their victory over the United States-backed forces of South Vietnam, the people of Hanoi are still finding life hard.
GV Street scenes in Hanoi, people walking about, in cars, and in rickshaws. (5 SHOTS)
SVs Anti-United States posters on street. (3 SHOTS)
SV Wood and flower stall on street. (3 SHOTS)
GV EXTERIOR OF War Museum and surrounding park.
SV Captured U.S. tank and aircraft, with children playing on them. (4 SHOTS)
GV Steam train pulls into station. (2 SHOTS)
SCU Official watches as people disembark. (3 SHOTS)
SV PAN Tram runs along street.
GV EXTERIOR OF People's Conference Hall, with slogans at top. (2 SHOTS)
SV ZOOM TO CU Children present flowers to officials. CU Chairman of Council of Ministers, Pham Van Dong.
CU ZOOM OUT TO LV Bust of Ho Chi Minh in hall.
GV EXTERIOR Ho Chi Minh monument.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Eight years after their victory over the United States-backed forces of South Vietnam, the people of Hanoi are still finding life hard. Apart from the few cars provided for government officials, the main form of transport is still by bicycle. However, with the average monthly wage standing at 60 Vietnamese dong, about five U.S. dollars, and a bicycle tyre costs 120 dong, (10 U.S. dollars), cycling is by no means cheap. Direct involvement with the South by the United States ended ten years ago, but the government still puts up anti-U.S. posters on the streets. A war museum has been built to commemorate the ending of hostilities, and parked in the grounds is the first tank to enter the then South Vietnamese capital, Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh City. The museum also houses military equipment captured from the U.S., including a fighter airplane, now used by children as a play area. Private cars are almost non-existent and many people travel either by train or by the city's electric tramway systems. Many Hanoi residents live in overcrowded tenements - there has been almost no building work started in the past ten years - and thousands of state employees receive food hand-outs of 13 kilograms (28.6 lbs) of rice a month. There have been several serious food shortages in the past eight years as many farmers were reluctant to sell their rice to the state because of low prices. Despite these internal economic problems, however, the Vietnamese government maintains the world's fourth largest army, and gives military aid to the Heng Samrin government in neighbouring Kampuchea. Reuters reported that there were about 180,000 Vietnamese troops in Kampuchea, and on February 24, Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach said the two countries had agreed to reduce the numbers of troops by an unspecified number each year, if security conditions were favourable. The announcement was greeted with scepticism by diplomats. According to Reuters, they believe this was only a move to improve the international reputation of Vietnam before the
third summit of the non-aligned nations in New Delhi next month. At a meeting in the People's Conference Hall, the chairman of the council of ministers, Pham Van Dong, refused to comment on developments.