Taipei, May 17 (CNA) Taiwan is taking steps to protect its businessmen and citizens in Vietnam as more protests are expected in the Southeast Asian country following anti-China riots there earlier in the week, Taiwanese officials said Saturday.
Vietnamese protesters are likely to gather near China's Embassy in Hanoi, northern Vietnam, and in areas where Chinese businesses are based in northern provinces of the country, Taiwanese foreign affairs officials said, citing information obtained by their ministry.
In Ho Chi Minh, the largest city in southern Vietnam, rallies may be held in areas such as the center of District 1, city hall and the office of China's Consulate General, the officials said, warning Taiwanese nationals in Vietnam against visiting such places.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese government has promised to beef up police patrols in areas where unrest is likely, in an effort to ensure the safety of Taiwanese businesspeople and expatriates there, the officials said.
The Vietnamese authorities also said they will try to prevent large-scale protests but small rallies may still be held, the officials added.
Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said 13 places in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh cities and in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces, among others, have been designated as emergency shelters for Taiwanese businessmen and expatriates.
China Airlines and EVA Airways, Taiwan's biggest international carriers, have been offering chartered flights and more seating on their scheduled flights between Vietnam and Taiwan, employing larger aircraft, to help Taiwanese businesspeople and expatriates return home.
These air transportation arrangements will be expanded if necessary, Foreign Minister David Lin told the local media.
The foreign ministry said it has also taken steps to assist Taiwanese nationals who want to return home but do not have their passports with them.
Such nationals may be granted a travel document that would allow them to leave Vietnam and enter Taiwan, and the ministry will later issue them a new passport free of cost, the officials said.
At the moment, Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces appear to be quiet, Lin said, adding that the ministry has put contingency measures in place and will make every effort to ensure the safety of Taiwanese nationals in Vietnam in the event of violent protests.
The riots erupted May 13 in response to a Chinese oil-drilling venture in an area of the South China Sea that is also claimed by Hanoi. More than 1,000 Taiwan-invested businesses were affected and two Taiwanese businessmen were injured in the riots, the ministry said.
(By Elaine Hou)ENDITEM/pc
Related stories:●May 17: Taiwan expands travel warning for Vietnam, makes contingency plans●May 16: Taiwan concerned about possible rallies in Vietnam
(Click here for developments related to the anti-China protest-turned-riot in Vietnam.)