Sat, May 17, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers urge Cabinet action to protect citizens

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Chou Ni-an holds up a sign and expresses her opinion on the recent anti-Chinese demonstrations in Vietnam, at the legislature in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Lawmakers across party lines yesterday issued a joint statement calling on the government to step up measures to protect Taiwanese businesspeople in Vietnam who bore the brunt of the attacks by Vietnamese protesting against China’s installation of an oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) read the six-point statement in the Legislative Yuan, which called on the Executive Yuan to immediately set up an inter-ministerial task force that will be responsible for handling issues related to the riots in Vietnam that have threatened the lives and property of Taiwanese nationals.

Second, the government should investigate the need for and arrange additional flights for Taiwanese returning from Vietnam, the statement said.

Third, the government should demand that the Vietnamese government protect Taiwanese businesspeople and seek compensation for damage to Taiwanese business interests, adding that Hanoi should not treat these cases as related to or subordinate to their Chinese counterparts.

Fourth, the government should ensure that banks would not terminate their loans to Taiwanese businesses whose property and factories were seriously damaged during the riots.

Fifth, financing assistance should be offered to Taiwanese companies in Vietnam, if needed, by the government in ways such as providing preferential loans through the Overseas Credit Guarantee Fund.

The last point on the statement reiterates the country’s position that: “From the perspective of history, geography and international law, the Republic of China’s (ROC) inherent territory extends to the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島), Macclesfield Bank (Zhongsha Islands, 中沙群島) and Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島) as well as their surrounding waters and respective seabed and subsoil.”

“The countries surrounding the South China Sea should avoid taking unilateral actions that might harm regional peace, respect the principle and the spirit of the international law and solve the dispute peacefully through talks and negotiations. [Taiwan] would be more than willing to participate in the talks, promote regional peace and work on cross-country collaboration on resource development in the Sea,” the sixth point said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said the joint statement was initiated by the DPP.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not do enough. The ‘I am Taiwanese’ stickers it provides could have the opposite effect and cost Taiwanese their lives,” as Vietnamese textbooks teach that Taiwan is part of China, she said.

“President [Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九)] is probably still busy with his green card [controversy],” she added, referring to Ma’s silence throughout the course of the riots.

Kuan said the opposition wanted to include in the statement its condemnation of China’s actions, which have affected regional peace.

“However, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) did not agree, so we fell back on the current sixth point, which is a description of our stance and does not single China out,” she added.

KMT Legislator Chen Shu-hui (陳淑慧) confirmed the change in content, saying the KMT believes it is more important “to ensure that the Vietnamese government abides by the Taiwan-Vietnam Protection of Investment Agreement and compensates Taiwanese businesspeople.”

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