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Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by People's Republic of China (PRC) to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea, referred to as East Sea , to the east.
Vietnam became independent from China in AD 938. Successive dynasties flourished along with geographic and political expansion deeper into Southeast Asia, until it was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century. First Indochina War eventually led to their expulsion from the country in the mid-20th century, leaving a nation divided politically into two countries. Fighting between the two sides continued during the Vietnam War, ending with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.
Emerging from this prolonged military engagement, the war-ravaged nation was politically isolated. In 1986, the government instituted economic and political reforms and began a path towards international reintegration. By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with most nations. Its economic growth has been among the highest in the world in the past decade. Economic reforms introduced inequality in many spheres of life in Vietnam such as income distribution and women's rights.