Taipei, May 18 (CNA) There have been no reports of major anti-China rallies in Vietnam as of Sunday afternoon, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said, amid worry over the safety of Taiwanese nationals in the Southeast Asian country.
As of 1:00 p.m., the streets of Vietnam were largely peaceful and there were no reports of major public gatherings in Ho Chi Minh City in the south or elsewhere, Anna Kao told CNA.
She said the foreign ministry will provide updates on its website on the situation in Vietnam, where anti-China protests and rioting last week caused damage to Chinese and Taiwanese businesses there.
Fliers were handed out in Vietnam and there were calls on the Internet for the public to take to the streets Sunday to oppose what is seen as Chinese aggression, after China moved an oil rig to a disputed area of the South China Sea May 1.
China's move sparked worker demonstrations in the southern province of Binh Duong May 13, which later turned into rioting in which Taiwanese- and Chinese-owned factories were set alight or vandalized.
Taiwan's foreign ministry obtained information late Saturday that mass rallies might be held in Hanoi in the north, Ho Chi Minh City in the south and two other municipalities, as well as in 17 provinces, including Binh Duong.
Taiwan's diplomatic missions in Vietnam are working with Vietnamese government agencies and public security personnel to ensure the safety of Taiwanese businesspeople, allowing them to take refuge at Taiwan's representative offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, among other measures, Kao said.
Shelters for Taiwanese citizens have also been set up in the adjoining provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong, she said.
In addition, special counters have been set up at Vietnamese airports to expedite travel arrangements for Taiwanese, and transportation is being provided to take them to airports under the escort of Vietnamese security officers, Kao said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's defense ministry said military transport planes and ships have been put on standby to evacuate Taiwanese citizens in Vietnam, in case of emergency.
Military sources said, however, that because Taiwan and Vietnam do not have diplomatic relations, Taiwan's government is relying primarily on local airlines to bring Taiwanese home from Vietnam.
Taiwan's two largest carriers, China Airlines and EVA Airways, have made special arrangements to fly Taiwanese citizens home, if required.
(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Scully Hsiao)enditem /pc
Related stories:●May 18:Vietnam promises to help reopen companies affected by riots●May 18: Situation in Vietnam reportedly peaceful (update)
(Click here for developments related to the anti-China protest-turned-riot in Vietnam.)