At a World Bank economic seminar last week, Representative to Vietnam Huang Chih-peng (黃志鵬) issued guidance to Taiwanese companies affected by last month’s anti-China riots in Vietnam to help them seek compensation for damages incurred during the unrest.
Huang made the remarks during a speech at the seminar in Hanoi, where he first briefed the audience on the cooperative relationship between Taiwan and Vietnam, the bilateral agreements they have signed and Taiwanese enterprises’ contributions to the Southeast Asian country.
However, Huang said that the friendly atmosphere had been tarnished by the protests, which erupted on May 13 over China’s dispatching of an oil rig close to the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) in the South China Sea, which are claimed by Taipei, Beijing and Hanoi.
Although the rioters were protesting against China, Taiwanese companies were damaged and looted along with some Japanese and South Korean firms when they were mistaken for Chinese-owned enterprises.
The riots in the southern Vietnamese provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai, Ho Chi Minh City and central Ha Tinh Province affected 408 Taiwanese businesses, 25 of which were seriously damaged. The firms’ total cumulative losses range between US$200 million and US$500 million.
The rioting left Taiwanese businesspeople in Vietnam frightened and aggrieved, Huang said, though he commended Hanoi for rolling out measures to deal with the aftermath.
Huang said Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has issued several orders asking the relevant government agencies to help Taiwanese companies recoup their losses and resume normal operations.
The economic seminar made Huang the first Taiwanese representative to Vietnam to deliver a speech at such an event since Taiwan’s representative office was established in Ho Chi Minh City 22 years ago.