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Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of 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 the East Sea, to the east.
The people of Vietnam regained independence and broke away from China in AD 938 after their victory at the battle of Bach Dang River. 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. Efforts to resist the French 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 the North Vietnamese victory in 1975.
Emerging from this prolonged military engagement, the war-ravaged nation was politically isolated. In 1986, the Vietnamese authorities reaffirmed their commitment to economic liberalization and international integration. They moved to implement the structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive export-driven industries. By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with most nations. Vietnam joined the WTO in January 2007 following more than a decade long negotiation process. WTO membership has provided Vietnam an anchor to the global market and reinforced the domestic economic reform process. Agriculture's share of economic output has continued to shrink from about 25% in 2000 to about 21% in 2009. Deep poverty has declined significantly and Vietnam is working to create jobs to meet the challenge of a labor force that is growing by more than one million people every year.
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