Vietnam has designated a United States-based dissident group a "terrorist organization", warning people to stay away from the group.
The government announced in a statement circulated to state-controlled media that "people who commit acts of participation" with the Viet Tan will be punished.
The Viet Tan - also known as the Vietnam Reform Party - is a self-described opposition party in exile that calls for open elections in the country.
Under the country's constitution, Vietnam is a single party communist state that bans opposition parties.
While Vietnamese authorities frequently refer to the Viet Tan as "terrorists", Friday's statement is the first time national security forces have officially designated the group as such.
The statement accused the Viet Tan of inciting and carrying out acts of violence, although it didn't provide examples of specific acts attributable to the group.
The group operates legally in countries with large Vietnamese communities, particularly in the U.S. and Australia.
Hoang Duy Hoang, a Viet Tan spokesman based in Washington DC, told Anadolu Agency on Sept. 21 that the group advocates nonviolent change.
Any terrorism accusations, he said, were groundless.
"Unfortunately, the regime is focused on maintaining its power. As a result, it views peaceful criticism as 'anti-state propaganda' and peaceful political organizing as "subversion" or 'causing public disorder'," he added