Vietnam Announces Live-Fire Naval Exercises Following Maritime Disputes with China

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Vietnam has publically announced that it will be conducting six hours of live-fire naval exercises off the country’s central coast this coming Monday. While conducting naval exercises is not entirely uncommon, this was the first instance publicized. The state-owned Northern Maritime Safety Corporation warned boats and ships to stay out of the area off Quang Nam’s provinces shores.

The planned exercises are largely believed to be a response to ongoing disputes over territory in the South China Sea (officially known as “Bien Dong,” the East Sea, in Vietnam). While Vietnam asserts that China has consciously interfered with Vietnamese efforts to survey the purportedly resource rich area, China accuses Vietnam of infringing on its sovereignty.

Competing claims with China over ownership of the Spratly and Paracel Islands (Truong Sa and Hoang Sa) have been both a domestic and foreign relations issue for Vietnam. Heated sentiments over a perceived timidness to Vietnam’s northern neighbor inspired pockets of protests in Ha Noi earlier this week, and diplomatic spars with China have followed. Hackers from both countries have compromised the other’s government-run websites.

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