Sun, May 18, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Orange and yellow travel alerts issued for Vietnam

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The government yesterday advised Taiwanese in Vietnam to stay away from areas where Vietnamese plan to stage anti-China protests today, although it said it has received repeated reassurances from the Vietnamese government that Hanoi will impose strict law enforcement measures to maintain order.

At the meeting chaired by Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained to Cabinet officials the measures the ministry has taken in response to what was expected to be a nationwide demonstration today against China stationing an oil rig in an area of the South China Sea also claimed by Vietnam.

Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) yesterday said the ministry has been repeatedly reassured by several Vietnamese officials, including Vietnamese Minister of Public Security General Tran Dai Quang, that Hanoi has increased police presence and intensified the protection of Taiwanese facilities and investors.

“However, we will never let our guard down,” Lin said.

The ministry yesterday issued a higher-level “orange” alert for District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City, along with Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces, where the travel status has been raised to orange after the anti-China riots turned violent on Tuesday, urging the public to avoid traveling to the areas unless necessary.

A “yellow” travel alert was issued for all of Vietnam, meaning people traveling in the country should take precautions or should consider canceling their travel plans, the ministry said.

Taiwanese investors, employees and their family members in Vietnam were advised to stay at home over the weekend.

People who do go out should avoid political gatherings and alter routes to avoid planned demonstration areas, the ministry said.

The ministry has dispatched its personnel to make 13 hotels, office buildings or Taiwanese schools in Vietnam into temporary housing for Taiwanese should they need a place to take shelter from violent protesters — with four in Hanoi and Haiphong, as well as Thai Binh, Bac Giang and Bac Ninh provinces in northern Vietnam, two in Ho Chih Minh City, two in Binh Duong Province and five in Dong Nai Province in southern Vietnam.

Taiwanese nationals can also contact the ministry’s personnel at any hour on the emergency hotlines, four in Hanoi +84-913-219-986, +84-902-211-168, +84-904-001-588, +84-913-283-688 and five in Ho Chi Minh City +84-903-927-019, +84-902-625-988, +84-908-781-230, +84-912-390-118, +84-903-407-650 for assistance, the ministry said.

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Vanessa Shih (史亞平) said yesterday that the Vietnamese government has offered an official apology to the government and Taiwanese investors for earlier riots that have affected 107 Taiwanese-invested facilities.

Between 10 and 20 Taiwanese factories were seriously damaged to the extent that the immediate resumption of operations was not possible, Shih said.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) is to lead a group of officials to Vietnam on Wednesday to get a better understanding of their losses.

Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday ordered officials at related government agencies to be on standby for the entire day to closely monitor the situation in Vietnam round-the-clock and coordinate closely to arrange charter flights to repatriate Taiwanese from Vietnam if necessary.

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