Bilingual “I am Taiwanese” sticker sent to help locals

TAIPEI - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said it has prepared stickers with the slogan "I am Taiwanese" to give to Taiwanese businesses in Vietnam to help them differentiate themselves from Chinese nationals amid the latest wave of anti-Chinese sentiment in the country.

The ministry has prepared more than 20,000 stickers written in both Vietnamese and English that read "I am Taiwanese, I am from Taiwan," according to MOFA.

The ministry will urge Taiwanese nationals in Vietnam to post the stickers outside their factories or facilities so that Vietnamese anti-China protestors can tell the difference between Taiwanese and Chinese nationals.

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 by the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea earlier this month.

The protests turned into riots this Tuesday when Vietnamese protesters damaged facilities owned by Taiwanese businesses and attacked Taiwanese people.

According to the latest information provided by Taipei's office in Hanoi, more than 100 Taiwanese companies in Vietnam suffered from different levels of damage during the riot, and at least two Taiwanese were reported injured.

The MOFA previously suspected that the attacks against Taiwanese were because some Vietnamese protesters could not distinguish between Taiwanese businesses and Chinese ones.

Briefing lawmakers with the latest developments yesterday, Foreign Minster David Lin said the situation in Vietnam was stabilized after local authorities mobilized military and police to contain the situation.

As a self-defence effort, the ministry has prepared the stickers for Taiwanese nationals. They can put them up at their homes or offices if they wish, the minister said.

Taiwan Will Not Work with China on South China Sea Issue

Meanwhile, Lin yesterday stressed that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will not cooperate in the South China Sea sovereignty issue when asked to comment on the Chinese government's Wednesday remarks about Taiwan and China joining hands on the South China Sea issue and the Chinese government's commitment to protect Taiwanese in Vietnam.

During his report at the Legislative Yuan, Lin said the ministry believes that the violence against Taiwanese nationals in Vietnam has not reached the point where a full-scale evacuation is needed. However, it has been offering assistance to help Taiwanese people working there to return home if they desire.

The minister said his staff has been doing whatever they can to ensure the safety of Taiwanese nationals in Vietnam and arranging transportation for those who wish to come back to Taiwan as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Lin yesterday said the ministry could later file a legal suit against the Vietnamese government demanding compensation for those Taiwanese businessmen whose properties were damaged during the protest.