9 Jun 2011

Hackers join China/Vietnam territorial dispute

9:41 pm on 9 June 2011

Vietnam says it will use all means to protect its sovereignty in the South China Sea, amid rising tensions with China over ownership of islands in the South China Sea.

The dispute began in May when Vietnam accused Chinese patrol boats of deliberately cutting the cables of a Vietnamese survey ship operating well inside its waters, saying it was a clear and serious violation of sovereignty.

In the latest developments, computer hackers in both countries have launched campaigns against hundreds of the other side's websites, including government sites.

According to the BBC, Chinese hackers posted Chinese flags on Vietnamese sites while Vietnamese put images of armed men on Chinese sites.

On Thursday, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung made his first comments on the row, saying Vietnam's sovereignty was incontestable in areas of the Paracel and Spratly island groups.

"We continue to affirm strongly and to manifest the strongest determination of all the party, of all the people and of all the army in protecting Vietnamese sovereignty in maritime zones and islands of the country," Mr Dung said in comments reported by the Thanh Nien newspaper.