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 Definition A country in Southeast Asia, neighboring China, Laos, and Cambodia, and with seacoast on the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea. Now the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam, under a Communist government with a market economic system, it spawned from ancient kingdoms, was a colony called French Indochina, and was partitioned into the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) between 1954 and 1975. [d] [e]