Taipei, May 19 (CNA) The situation in Vietnam has not reached a level that justifies banning Vietnamese workers from coming to Taiwan, Labor Minister Pan Shih-wei said Monday following attacks on Taiwanese businesses in the Southeast Asian country last week.
Pan said the government concluded after an evaluation that it was not necessary at present to stem the flow of workers from Vietnam, the second biggest source of foreign workers in Taiwan.
But the government will take action if it proves necessary, he said while answering questions from lawmakers during a hearing of the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee.
Legislators wanted to know whether the government was considering a freeze on Vietnamese workers to punish Hanoi if it could not ensure the safety of Taiwanese there.
Taiwan is Vietnam's fourth largest source of foreign investment, and it takes in more Vietnamese workers than any other country in the world.
According to Labor Ministry statistics, around 125,572 of Taiwan's 495,108 foreign workers come from Vietnam. The only country supplying more workers to Taiwan is Indonesia, with a contingent of 215,960 people working here.
Anti-Chinese protests erupted in southern Vietnam on May 13 over a Chinese oil-drilling venture in an area of the South China Sea that Hanoi insists is in its exclusive economic zone.
Many foreign-owned factories, and Taiwanese facilities in particular, were attacked by rioters after the protests turned violent, leading many Taiwanese nationals to flee the country.
On Sunday, Vietnam's representative to Taiwan Bui Trong Van apologized on behalf of his government to the Taiwanese businesses that suffered damage during the violence.
He said his government is considering offering tax cuts and other forms of compensation to those enterprises.
(By Zoe Wei and Elaine Hou)ENDITEM/ls
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(Click here for developments related to the anti-China protest-turned-riot in Vietnam.)