Ma orders contingency plan ahead of expected protests in Vietnam

05/17/2014 11:01 PM

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday gave a directive for special airplanes to be put on standby to transport Taiwanese citizens home in case of emergency, after he was briefed on a response plan amid the likelihood of more protests in Vietnam Sunday.

Ma said that although the situation throughout Vietnam has stabilized since more police officers were deployed to quell anti-China riots, Taiwan's government is still on high alert as mass protests are expected Sunday.

He gave a directive for government agencies to ensure the safety od Taiwanese businessmen and expatriates in the Southeast Asian country.

At an inter-ministerial meeting at the Presidential Office, the president was briefed by a special response task force under the Executive Yuan, on emergency measures in response to the expected mass protests.

After the briefing, the president said that Taiwan's various government agencies should get their contingency plans ready and he instructed that special airplanes be put on standby to transport Taiwanese in Vietnam back home if necessary.

He also asked Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin to keep in close contact with Vietnamese representative to Taiwan Bui Trong Van and strongly demand that Vietnam protect the lives and property of Taiwan's businessmen, expatriates and tourists in the country.

The Executive Yuan task force said that it has formulated emergency response measures and the staff of various government agencies will be on standby Sunday to respond to emergencies.

In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Taiwan's representative office in Vietnam has designated 13 places in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh cities, Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces and other areas as emergency shelters for Taiwanese businessmen and expatriates.

The MOFA has dispatched more personnel to Vietnam, while the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has asked Taiwanese airlines to increase the staff at their support service counters at the main airports in Vietnam.

The MOTC said that 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.

Anti-China protests erupted last week after China earlier this month deployed an oil rig near the Paracel Islands, an area claimed by both Beijing and Hanoi, which led to sea skirmishes between the two sides. Many factories in industrial parks in Vietnam, including many run by Taiwanese companies, have been attacked.

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.

(By Kelven Huang and Evelyn Kao)


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.)

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