After the Law on Planning was approved by the National Assembly, the Government directed its agencies to study zoning plans for regional planning under the national master plan.

According to MPI, after many discussions, the Government directed to follow the plan on dividing the country into six socio-economic zones to implement the Law on Planning. 

The six regions are:

1. The northern midland and mountainous areas, including 14 provinces (Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Lang Son, Bac Giang, Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen, Bac Kan, Tuyen Quang, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Lai Chau, Son La, Dien Bien and Hoa Binh).

2. The Red River Delta, including 11 cities/provinces (Hanoi, Hai Phong, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Vinh Phuc, Bac Ninh, Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Ha Nam, Ninh Binh and Quang Ninh)

3. The northern part of the central region and coastal areas, including 14 provinces (Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien - Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan).

4. The Central Highlands, including five provinces (Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong and Lam Dong).

5. The eastern part of the southern region, including six cities/provinces (HCM City, Dong Nai, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh).

6. The Mekong River Delta, including 13 cities/provinces (Can Tho, Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Vinh Long, An Giang, Dong Thap, Kien Giang, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau).

MPI said the current zoning has served zone development policies and planning over the last 20 years.

In principle, localities in the same regions have similar natural conditions, history, culture and population. These localities have close economic, cultural, social and infrastructure relations.

Some analysts said that the current zoning still has unreasonable features. For example, the north central and coastal areas are too long.

MPI said the problem can be solved when drawing up zone planning in 2021-2030 by dividing the region into two sub-regions – the northern part of the central region and the coastal southern part of the central region.

In 2019, MPI suggested dividing the country into seven socio-economic regions instead of six.

Under both six-zone and seven-zone plans, the Red River and Mekong River Deltas are included. Meanwhile, the northern midlands and mountainous zone is divided into two zones – northeast and northwest.

Luong Bang