Hanoi Will Conduct a Military Exercise in South China Sea

Vietnam will lead the military exercises on Monday in the South China Sea, said an official of the Navy, as tensions have risen in recent days between Hanoi and Beijing on two disputed islands in the region.

Live firing exercises of the Vietnamese Navy will be held June 13 for six hours, 40 km from the coast of Quang Nam (center), the official said Friday on condition of anonymity.

More than 200 km away from Paracel and 1,000 km from Spratly, the two archipelagos are supposedly rich in oil resources and causing regular quarrels between the two communist neighbors.

The officer refused to elaborate on the reasons for these exercises and the number of vessels engaged.

More than 200 Vietnamese websites, including those of Ministries of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs, were hacked since early June, said Nguyen Minh Duc, director of security company Bach Khoa Internetwork Security Centre (BKIS).

Hackers sometimes left behind information in Chinese and Chinese flags, he said, adding he could not say whether Chinese were responsible for those cyber attacks.

Carl Thayer, a specialist in Vietnam from the Australian University of New South Wales, Says the exercise of Monday is also a message, after China announced Thursday it would lead military exercises in June in the western Pacific.