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Location of Vietnam in Indochina
Vietnam, or Viet Nam (Vietnamese: Việt Nam, [vîət nāːm] (listen)), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is a country in Southeast Asia, at the eastern edge of mainland Southeast Asia, with an area of 311,699 square kilometres (120,348 sq mi) and population of 96 million, making it the world's fifteenth-most populous country. Vietnam borders China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and shares maritime borders with Thailand through the Gulf of Thailand, and the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia through the South China Sea. Its capital is Hanoi and largest city Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam was inhabited by the Paleolithic age, with states established in the first millennium BC on the Red River Delta in modern-day northern Vietnam. The Han dynasty annexed Northern and Central Vietnam under Chinese rule from 111 BC, until the first dynasty emerged in 939. Successive monarchical dynasties absorbed Chinese influences through Confucianism and Buddhism, and expanded southward to the Mekong Delta, conquering Champa. The Nguyễn—the last imperial dynasty—fell to French colonisation in 1887. Following the August Revolution, the nationalist Viet Minh under the leadership of communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh proclaimed independence from France in 1945.

Vietnam went through prolonged warfare in the 20th century. After World War II, France returned to reclaim colonial power in the First Indochina War, from which Vietnam emerged victorious in 1954. The Vietnam War began shortly after, during which the nation was divided into communist North supported by the Soviet Union and China, and anti-communist South supported by the United States. Upon the North Vietnamese victory in 1975, Vietnam reunified as a unitary socialist state under the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) in 1976. An ineffective planned economy, a trade embargo by the West, and wars with Cambodia and China crippled the country further. In 1986, the CPV initiated economic and political reforms similar to the Chinese economic reform, transforming the country to a market-oriented economy. The reforms facilitated Vietnamese reintegration into global economy and politics.

A developing country with a lower-middle-income economy, Vietnam is nonetheless one of the fastest growing economies of the 21st century, with GDP predicted to rival developed nations by 2050. Vietnam has high levels of corruption, censorship and a poor human rights record; the country ranks among the lowest in international measurements of civil liberties, freedom of the press and freedom of religion and ethnic minorities. It is part of international and intergovernmental institutions including the ASEAN, the APEC, the CPTPP, the Non-Aligned Movement, the OIF, and the WTO. It has assumed a seat on the United Nations Security Council twice. (Full article...)

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Viet Minh troops plant their flag over the captured French headquarters at Dien Bien Phu (still from Soviet filmographer Roman Karmen).
Viet Minh troops plant their flag over the captured French headquarters at Dien Bien Phu (still from Soviet filmographer Roman Karmen).

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu (French: Bataille de Diên Biên Phu pronounced [bataj də djɛ̃ bjɛ̃ fy]; Vietnamese: Chiến dịch Điện Biên Phủ, IPA: [t͡ɕjěn zîk̚ ɗîənˀ ɓīən fû]) was a climactic confrontation of the First Indochina War that took place between 13 March and 7 May 1954. It was fought between the French Union's colonial Far East Expeditionary Corps and Viet Minh communist revolutionaries. The United States was officially not a party to the war, but it was secretly involved by providing financial and material aid to the French Union, which included CIA contracted American personnel participating in the battle. The People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union similarly provided vital support to the Viet Minh, including most of their artillery and ammunition.

The French began an operation to insert, then support, their soldiers at Điện Biên Phủ, deep in the autonomous Tai Federation up in the hills northwest of Tonkin. The operation's purpose was to cut off Viet Minh supply lines into the neighboring Kingdom of Laos (a French ally), and draw the Viet Minh into a major confrontation in order to cripple them. The plan was to resupply the French position by air, a strategy adopted based on the belief that the Viet Minh had no anti-aircraft capability. The Viet Minh, however, under General Võ Nguyên Giáp, surrounded and besieged the French. They brought in vast amounts of heavy artillery (including anti-aircraft guns) and managed to move these bulky weapons through difficult terrain up the rear slopes of the mountains. They then dug tunnels through the mountains and arranged the guns to target the French position. (Full article...)
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  • ... that Mongol general Uriyangkhadai invaded the territory of the Song dynasty in southern China by going through Tibet and Vietnam?
  • ... that on May 9, 1970, Richard Nixon spent the two hours before dawn at the Lincoln Memorial talking to students protesting the Vietnam War?
  • ... that historian Jeffrey Kimball argued that the Vietnam War "was waged as much against Saigon as it was against the [Viet Cong / North Vietnamese] enemy"?
  • ... that wushu athlete Nguyễn Thúy Hiền was voted the best Vietnamese female athlete of the 20th century?
  • ... that the 1983 memoir Home Before Morning, which details the author's time as a Vietnam War nurse, is dedicated to "all of the unknown women who served forgotten in their wars"?
  • ... that Nothgottes, a pilgrimage destination in the Rheingau since the 14th century, is a monastery of Cistercians from Vietnam?

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Vietnam News

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6 September 2022 –
At least 32 people are killed and 11 others are injured during a fire at a karaoke bar in Binh Duong, Vietnam. (BBC)
25 July 2022 –
A major incident is declared by Greater Manchester Police after the remains of four people, believed to be Vietnamese migrants, are found at a factory in Oldham, which was destroyed by a fire in May. (The Daily Express)
7 May 2022 –
Four Vietnamese nationals are killed when a fire breaks out at Bismark House Mill in Oldham (BBC)
12 March 2022 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam
Vietnam reports a record 454,197 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, including a record 225,693 new cases in Hanoi, which is the highest single-day total in any municipality or province. (VnExpress)

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