The overall situation in Vietnam was calm yesterday despite calls for a nationwide anti-Chinese protest, according to Taiwanese sources in Vietnam.
Bureau of Consular Affairs Director-General Kung Chung-chen (龔中誠), who arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday morning, said the situation was quite peaceful in the morning.
Kung said the Vietnamese authorities have been keeping a close eye on any public rallies and banned any parades. Any likely demonstrations will be restricted to specific locations, he said.
However, Kung reiterated that the representative offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are not taking any chances and have opened 13 shelters for the Taiwanese, and each shelter is being manned by staff members.
A decree issued by Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Thi Doan ordering the police to take all necessary measures to ensure that law and order is maintained in Hanoi has also helped, Kung said.
A group of people dressed in shirts bearing Vietnamese flags congregated near the Chinese embassy and were quickly dispersed by police.
Vietnamese police began withdrawing their personnel from the streets around the Chinese embassy in Hanoi about noon, sources said.
Several Taiwan businesspeople operating in other places in the country also reported that the situation was returning to normal.
Hong Fu-yuan (洪福源), the general manager of a subsidiary of Formosa Industries Corp, said in Taipei that nothing unusual has been reported at the company’s plastic factory in Dong Nai.
On Wednesday, the factory, which was badly damaged and ransacked by some 300 protesters on motorcycles, is now being guarded by the Vietnamese riot police and its entrance is blockaded with containers, Hung added.
The company’s steel mill in Ha Tinh is also safe, Hung said.
Tu Chung-cheng, a spokesman for Uni-President food group, said in Taipei that the group has beefed up security measures at its five factories in the country yesterday and all of them are safe.
The company’s factory in Bing Duong Province, which suspended production activities on Tuesday because of the protests, resumed partial operations on Friday, Tu said.
In Taipei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said the diplomatic missions in Vietnam are working with Vietnamese government agencies and public security personnel to ensure the safety of Taiwanese businesspeople.
Shelters for Taiwanese have also been set up in Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces, she said.
Special counters have also been set up at Vietnamese airports to expedite travel arrangements for Taiwanese, and transportation is being provided to take them to airports with Vietnamese security officers guarding them, Kao said.
The Ministry of National Defense said military transport planes and ships have been put on standby to evacuate Taiwanese from Vietnam if needed.
However, that because the two nations not have diplomatic relations, the government is relying primarily on civilian airlines to bring Taiwanese home, military sources said.
China Airlines and EVA Airways have made special arrangements to fly Taiwanese home, if required.
In related news, Tourism Bureau statistics show the majority of Taiwanese traveling in Vietnam have chosen to continue their trips.
As of Saturday afternoon, 41 Taiwanese tour groups — a total of 847 people — were in Vietnam, all in the north, the bureau said.