TAIPEI - The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday told a press conference that as of May 14 in Vietnam, over 100 Taiwanese-owned companies had been attacked and damaged, over 10 factories set ablaze and several hundred Taiwanese-owned firms have suspended work owing to safety concerns, noting that the MOEA will assist Taiwanese nationals in seeking compensation from Vietnam.
During the press conference at the Executive Yuan, MOEA Vice Minister Cho Shih-chao said that, as far as he knows, in Vietnam's Binh Doung Province, over 500 Taiwanese businesspeople have left their companies and are currently staying in local hotels.
There are also Taiwanese nationals temporarily staying in the Taipei School in Ho Chi Minh City as well as in local hotels in Dong Nai Province and Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, Cho said.
Taiwanese nationals are currently safe and property losses arising from the recent riots are yet to be confirmed, Cho said.
Taiwan and Vietnam signed an investment protection agreement in 1993 that can be used as the basis for Taiwanese businesses seeking compensation from Vietnam, Cho said.
The MOEA said Taiwanese nationals have invested US$27.3 billion (S$34.2 billion) in Vietnam, noting that annual bilateral trade between the two countries amounts to US$11.5 billion.
During the Cabinet meeting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said it estimates that around 40,000 Taiwanese nationals are currently living in Vietnam. The ministry said there are 2,287 Taiwanese-owned companies and factories registered there, noting that 669 firms are stationed in Binh Doung Province, 331 located in Dong Nai Province and 485 are in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Vanessa Shih said Taiwan will strongly demand that the Vietnamese government abide by the agreement and compensate the affected Taiwanese business operators. Shih added that she believes Vietnam clearly knows the importance of Taiwanese investments in the country's development.
Shih said the representative offices in Vietnam have information regarding a possible upcoming mass demonstration, however, the issues of whether the demonstration will be held this weekend and how the Vietnamese government is likely to respond remain uncertain.
Cabinet Forms Team to Respond
The Executive Yuan yesterday formed a cross-ministry team lead by Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo, aiming to gather and respond to the latest information regarding the recent violent demonstrations in Vietnam.
Mao said the team will also assist Taiwanese businesspeople in demanding compensation from the Vietnamese government and strive for Taiwanese investors' interests.
The vice premier said that should any Taiwanese nationals wish to return to Taiwan, they can register at Taiwan's representative offices in Vietnam and the government will immediately assist them. The executive branch is to announce all the relevant ministries' contact information to public.
Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun said the government will assist Taiwanese nationals who have lost or damaged passports in applying for a temporary entry permit to Taiwan and will pay close attention to the demand for flights between the two nations.
Sun further said that the government has drafted a series of plans to respond to any circumstances that arise, including plans for the emergency evacuation of Taiwanese nationals out of Vietnam. He said the government will also assist Taiwanese students returning to Taiwan to resume studying should it be required.