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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Asia

10 Taiwanese factories in Vietnam set ablaze

Reuters | Thursday, May 15, 2014

Workers wave Vietnamese national flags during an anti-China protest at a Chinese-owned shoe factory in Vietnam's northern Thai Binh province May 14, 2014.

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The government does not currently intend to evacuate Taiwanese nationals in Vietnam amid tensions in the country after Vietnamese protesters damaged facilities owned by Taiwanese businesses and attacked Taiwanese people in a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

According to the latest information provided by Taiwan's representative office in Vietnam, Foreign Minister David Lin said yesterday that the situation in Binh Duong province has stabilized after Vietnamese authorities sent police and soldiers to the area late Tuesday.

More than 2,000 police were mobilized to control the escalating tensions in the region, Lin said at an emergency Foreign Ministry press conference yesterday morning.

In response to questions as to whether Taiwan will evacuate all of its nationals in the Southeast Asian country for safety reasons, the minister yesterday said it currently has no plan to do so since the situation has been stabilized.

But the government is closely monitoring developments in the country, he added.

His ministry has been keeping close contact with two major local airlines, China Airlines and Eva Airways, to make arrangements if Taiwanese businessmen and their families are planning to fly back to Taiwan amid the tensions.

Lin made the comments a day after his ministry issued a travel warning to Vietnam's Binh Duong province, urging people to pay special attention to their safety if traveling in the area and to avoid unnecessary trips if possible.

Vietnamese have been staging protests recently after Beijing deployed an oil rig in disputed waters as naval ships from both countries engaged in a tense standoff near the rig off the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

Some Vietnamese protesters could not distinguish between Taiwanese businesses and Chinese ones and destroyed any stores and facilities that had Chinese-language signs, the Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry yesterday raised the travel warning for Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces from yellow to orange, the second highest warning sign in the ministry's four-colour system.

The travel warning to Ho Chi Minh City has been raised to yellow, the third highest ranking in the system.

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