Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) yesterday said that Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang offered his apologies for the damage to Taiwanese factories in the country during recent anti-China protests and promised to safeguard the interests and safety of Taiwanese investors.
Chang said he has expressed the government’s serious concern about the rioting to his Vietnamese counterpart during brief meetings with Vu in Qingdao in China’s Shandong Province, where the ministers are set to attend the annual APEC meeting of trade ministers.
“Vu expressed his sincere regret about the whole incident. He said he was very sorry about what happened,” Chang told reporters on the sidelines of the APEC meeting.
A total of 107 Vietnamese factories owned by Taiwanese companies, mostly in the hardest-hit Pinh Duong Province, were attacked by mobs or shuttered amid the most serious anti-China riots in the country in two decades, according to the latest estimate by the ministry.
Chang said he delivered two letters to Vu expressing the government’s grave concerns about the Vietnamese rioters’ violent attacks on Taiwanese businesspeople and facilities during the anti-China demonstrations. Vu accepted the letters, Chang said.
One of the letters addresses the Vietnamese minister of planning and investment, calling on Vietnamese authorities to better protect the interests and safety of Taiwanese investors in Vietnam, Chang said.
Based on an investment protection and promotion agreement signed by the two countries, Vietnam should set up a task force to deal with the damage claims from Taiwanese companies, Chang told Vu.
In response, Vu said his government would fully cooperate with Taiwan’s requests.
Chang quoted Vu as saying 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, stressing that Taiwanese firms were not the targets of the protesters.
During yesterday’s meetings, Chang also told Vu that the Ministry of Economic Affairs will send representatives to Vietnam to assist Taiwanese manufacturers with their reconstruction efforts.
During the meetings, Chang expressed the government’s concern that the anti-China rioting would escalate as the speculation emerged that a new anti-China demonstration would take place today. Vu said that the information obtained by Hanoi was different from what Chang had heard, but he promised to protect Taiwanese investors.
Chang yesterday said Taiwan is in talks with Vietnam to update the existing investment protection and promotion agreement. The new edition will ensure the interests of Taiwanese investors from a third area. Because of the recent violence, the ministry will add more details to the new agreement with Vietnam to better safeguard the interest of Taiwanese businesspeople, he said.