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Ma instructs MOFA to protect Taiwanese in Vietnam

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that he has instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to request that the Vietnamese government protect R.O.C. nationals in Vietnam amid the recent riots.

Riots in Vietnam recently erupted following a sea drilling dispute between Vietnam and mainland China.

There have been reports of Taiwanese getting injured in the riots but there haven't been reports of deaths, Ma said, adding that MOFA has remained in close contact with Taiwan's representative in Vietnam and that specific measures have been devised to preempt further attacks and harassment against Taiwanese citizens.

So far, Ho Chi Minh City's air traffic has not been affected, but if necessary MOFA is prepared to dispatch aircraft to evacuate Taiwanese nationals, Ma said.

Taiwanese investors have invested the most in Vietnam than any other Southeast Asian country, and this incident will no doubt affect their willingness to remain in Vietnam, Ma said.

Ma, who doubles as Kuomintang (KMT) chairman, also requested that the ruling party contact its overseas branch in Vietnam to assist R.O.C. nationals.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) recently said that the threat toward Taiwanese businesspeople in Vietnam is related to the “confusion created by the Ma administration's one China policy.”

In response, KMT spokesman Chen Yi-hsin (陳以信) said yesterday that the government provided assistance through its diplomatic branch as soon as it learned of the riots, adding that the opposition should refrain from manipulating ideological issues for its own purposes at this particular juncture.

Shortly after the riots began the Foreign Ministry immediately contacted Taiwan's representative office in Vietnam, and demanded that the Vietnamese government protect Taiwanese nationals, Chen said, adding that the ministry coordinated with Taiwan-based airlines to increase the passenger capacity of their flights to and from Vietnam in order to help Taiwanese nationals return home.

The KMT will continue to communicate with its branch in Vietnam and offer its full assistance, Chen said.

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