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The Lao People's Democratic Republic is a landlocked nation in Southeast Asia. It is bordered on the east by Vietnam; to the south by Cambodia; to the west by Thailand; to the northwest by Burma; and to the north by China. The Laotian capital, Vientiane (Viangchan), is located on the Mekong River, at the midpoint of Thailand's border with Laos.

Formerly a French colony, Laos gained independence in 1954. Thereafter, the nation was ruled by a constitutional monarch.

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