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.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
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.”
KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) seconded the view.
“What really counts is offering legal and other kinds of support to those who need it and having the problem solved,” Lin said.
Asked about Ma’s seeming silence on the issue and the DPP’s recommendation to single out China, Lin said: “The president will weigh up the situation himself” and there is no need to “target one particular country out of those in the territorial dispute and trigger another uproar.”
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Lai Chen-chang (賴振昌) said the opposition wanted to make it clear that Taiwan does not stand on the same side with China.
“And the TSU does not approve of the president’s hesitation in facing up to China,” he added.
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