Vietnam has several thousand islands, whose size varies between 0.001 and 100 sq. km. It is not easy to obtain accurate statistics. According to the latest data (1995), the system of offshore islands comprises 2,773 large and small islands, with a total land area of 1,720 sq. km.
The number of islands with an area of more than 1 sq. km is only 84 (accounting for three percent of the total number, but 92.73 percent of the total area of islands, 3 of these islands are over 100 sq. km in size) and 14 islands each cover an area of over 10 sq. km.
As far as distribution of islands is concerned, 83.7 percent of the total number of islands are near the shore of Quang Ninh and Hai Phong, and 5.7 percent are in the provinces of Kien Giang and Ca Mau in the Gulf of Thailand. Though small in number, the area of islands here accounts for 35.5 percent of the total such area throughout the country. The rest of Vietnam's islands are scattered along the coastal plains of the Red River Delta and Eastern Nam Bo.
Unnamed islands number nearly 1,300. Distances from the mainland to islands also vary: Cai Bau island is only a channel’s width from the mainland, while Bach Long Vi is 135 km from Hai Phong; Hon Hai is 155 km from Phan Thiet; Tho Chu is 146 km from Ong Doc estuary (Kien Giang); Hoang Sa Archipelago is 350 km from Da Nang and Truong Sa Archipelago is over 450 km from the Cam Ranh Bay.
Vietnam’s islands and archipelagos can be used as strategic locations, and are extremely important on account of their economic and military benefits.
Communist Party of Vietnam - (08/03/2006)