Taipei, May 14 (CNA) Foreign Minister David Lin on Wednesday condemned the violence that has broken out in Vietnam amid anti-China protests and asked Vietnamese authorities to act immediately to restore order and protect Taiwanese nationals in the country.
He said two Taiwanese have been injured in the attacks but the situation had not reached the point where an evacuation was necessary, and Vietnam's government has provided assurances that it will ensure the safety of Taiwanese businessmen there.
Vietnamese authorities have already moved military police and anti-riot troops into Binh Duong province, where the violence has been concentrated, and Taiwan's representative in Vietnam has also arrived on the scene to offer his assistance, Lin said.
The protests were triggered by China's deployment of an oil rig in what Vietnam considers to be its economic waters near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.
A Foreign Ministry official has urged Taiwanese businessmen in Vietnam to put up signs saying "Taiwan" in Vietnamese outside their factories, which may protect Taiwanese firms from being wrongly attacked because most Vietnamese are friendly to Taiwan.
The official said the protests took place mainly in Binh Duong province north of Ho Chi Minh City where many Taiwanese companies are located.
The province has a police force of 2,000 officers who have been far outnumbered by the more than 20,000 protesters, the official said, and provincial authorities have asked the central government for reinforcements.
A Taiwan businessman in the province told a Taiwanese TV station by phone Wednesday morning that some 240 Taiwanese have taking refuge at a hotel in the province where they were promised protection by local authorities.
The businessman said that about a dozen Taiwanese factories in Binh Doung had been set on fire by protesters, but he could not estimate the scale of the damage.
(By Tang Pei-chun and Maubo Chang)ENDITEM/ls
Related stories:●May 14: Taiwan condemns violence against Taiwan businesses in Vietnam (update)●May 13: Taiwanese businesses suffer from anti-China protest in Vietnam