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Taiwan expands travel warning for Vietnam, makes contingency plans

2014/05/17 17:24:32

Protesters in anti-Chinese rallies earlier in the week. (Photo courtesy of Vietnam-based Taiwanese businessmen)

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) The ministries of foreign Affairs and transportation were instructed Saturday to make contingency plans to support and bring home Taiwanese nationals in Vietnam, if necessary, as Taiwan issued a "yellow" travel warning for the Southeast Asian country ahead of expected anti-Chinese protests on Sunday.

For the third time since violent anti-Chinese protests erupted in Vietnam over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, a special response task force under the Executive Yuan met to evaluate the latest situation and the government's course of action.

Besides asking all related government departments stay abreast of the situation in Vietnam, Vice Premier Mao Chih-kuo also instructed the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to get their contingency plans ready and help Taiwanese nationals in Vietnam return home if necessary.

He handed MOFA the responsibility of maintaining communication with the Vietnamese government to protect the safety and the assets of all Taiwanese citizens and businessmen in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, in addition to Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces, the first district of Ho Chi Minh City has been added to the list of Vietnam areas for which the MOFA has issued an "orange" travel warning, the second highest on its four-color coded scale.

MOFA has also issued a "yellow" travel warning -- one level below "orange" -- for the rest of Vietnam.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the riots have affected businesses in Binh Duong and Don Nai, where many of the Taiwanese enterprises in Vietnam are based, as well as in Ho Chi Minh City.

Early estimates show that around 107 Taiwanese-invested businesses had fallen victim to break-ins and vandalism, with around 10 factories having to suspend operations because of damage.

The MOEA said it has obtained preliminary information on the losses suffered by Taiwanese-invested businesses during the riots, and that requests for damage compensation, asset reimbursement and reconstruction will be handled via a hotline for Taiwanese businesses heavily invested in facilities in Vietnam.

The hotline -- available on the Taipei City Government's website -- will provide information on the future handling of all asset losses, as well as guidance and financial support for those affected by the unrest over the past week, the economics ministry said.

It also announced plans to send a support group to Vietnam to assist the affected Taiwanese businesses. The group will comprise of Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin and economic experts from various industries, it said.

The transportation and communications ministry said that the Tourism Bureau has comprehensive information regarding Taiwanese visitors to Vietnam and will inform travel agencies of any changes in the safety situation in the country.

Taiwan's Civic Aeronautics Administration (CAA) also said Saturday that Taiwanese airlines have increased the number of flights between Taiwan and Ho Chi Mihn City in anticipation of demand for evacuation of Taiwanese nationals wanting to avoid danger during the anti-Chinese protests.

Sales data shows that there has been no shortage of seats on flights from Vietnam to Taiwan, the CAA said, adding that it is prepared to further increase the number of flights if necessary.

(By Wang Shu-fen and John Scot Feng)
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Related stories:
●May 16: Taiwan concerned about possible rallies in Vietnam
●May 16: Vietnamese envoy vows protection of Taiwanese (update)

(Click here for developments related to the anti-China protest-turned-riot in Vietnam.)