Vietnam minister regrets harm to Taiwan firms
CNA Sunday, May 18, 2014, 12:10 am TWN
QINGDAO, China -- A Vietnamese minister at a regional meeting in China expressed regret Saturday over the anti-China riots in Vietnam and said he was sorry that Taiwanese businesses have been affected by the incident.
Vietnam's Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang made the comment on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade ministers meeting in Qingdao City when Taiwan's Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch handed him two letters that expressed Taiwan's concern over the violent anti-China protests in Vietnam.
The protests have erupted over a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea, with rioting resulting in the suspension of several Taiwanese business operations in Vietnam.
Chang said one of the letters was addressed to Vu and the other to Vietnam's Minister of Planning and Investment.
Although Vu is not in charge of investment matters in his country, he said he was sorry about the entire incident in Vietnam and expressed regret that Taiwanese businesses had been damaged, Chang said.
The Vietnamese minister also promised to pay great attention to the rights and safety of Taiwanese businessmen in his country, Chang said.
The two ministers arrived for the opening of the APEC meeting almost at the same time Saturday and talked for about 10 minutes, according to Chang.
Vu said that the recent tensions between China and Vietnam were caused by the territorial disputes in the South China Sea after Beijing towed an oil rig into waters claimed by both countries, Chang related.
Vu also said that Vietnam was sorry that the rights of Taiwanese businesses and Taiwanese citizens had been affected and he promised that his government will do its best to deal with the aftermath of the incident, according to Chang.
More than 100 Taiwanese businesses have been damaged by protesters who targeted any company that had Chinese words in its signage, making no distinction between Chinese and Taiwanese companies.
During the exchange with Vu, Chang said he asked that Vietnam set up a window to handle compensation for affected Taiwanese companies, in accordance with a Taiwan-Vietnam investment protection agreement. He also told Vu that Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs will dispatch staff to Vietnam to help Taiwanese companies reconstruct their factories there.
In response, Vu said Vietnam will fully support Taiwan's efforts.
Chang also expressed Taiwan's concern about the mass rallies expected across the Southeast Asian country on Sunday, particularly as recent anti-Chinese protests have turned into riots.
In response, Vu reiterated that the Vietnamese government will pay attention to and protect the rights of Taiwanese businesses.
Taiwan and Vietnam are in talks on a new version of their investment protection agreement, which will include a clause for the protection of Taiwanese businessmen who invest in Vietnam from a third place, according to Chang.
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