a country in southeast Asia, next to Cambodia and China. Population: 81,624,716 (2003). Capital: Hanoi. Vietnam was ruled by France, as part of French Indochina, from the mid-19th century. It became independent in 1954 as two countries, the pro-western South Vietnam and the Communist North Vietnam. Attempts to unite the two countries led to the Vietnam War and eventually succeeded in 1975. The war caused great suffering and serious economic problems. Since the war, Vietnam has gradually improved its economic position and it is now a member ofASEAN.
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.