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MOFA prints stickers for Taiwanese in Vietnam
Cabinet sets up special taskforce
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-15 07:00 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday it was printing stickers for citizens in Vietnam to help them identify themselves as Taiwanese in the face of attacks by local anti-Chinese mobs.

Several Taiwanese-owned factories were attacked, looted and burned in a massive outpouring of public anger in Vietnam against the installation of an oil rig by China in disputed waters. The Vietnamese mobs did not make any distinction between Taiwanese and Chinese businesses or people.

MOFA, which has been accused of being slow to react to the crisis, on Thursday presented the stickers it would be ordering its representative office in Vietnam to provide to Taiwanese in the troubled parts of the country. They bear the inscriptions “I am from Taiwan” and “I am Taiwanese” in Vietnamese and the English text “I am from Taiwan.” A total of 20,000 will reportedly be printed.

Foreign Minister David Lin emphasized that Taiwan and China were separate. Taiwan counted many Vietnamese workers and spouses, and had been investing in the communist country for more than 20 years, he said.

Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch could bring up the subject of compensation with his Vietnamese counterpart during Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in the Chinese city of Qingdao over the next few days, reports said.

While the government has said it would ask Vietnam for compensation for the damage to Taiwanese businesses and property under a 1993 investment protection agreement, business associations in Taipei voiced doubt about the prospects for success. Vietnam was not a democratic country, while Taiwan was not a member state of the United Nations and had no official diplomatic relations with Hanoi, they pointed out.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that a forum planned for later this month, it would try and persuade investors in Vietnam to change their mind and invest their money in Taiwan instead.

The Cabinet decided to step up a special taskforce Thursday to deal with the troubles in Vietnam. Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo was heading the group, which would focus on safeguards for the safety of Taiwanese citizens in Vietnam and on demands for compensation for the damage caused by looting mobs.

Lawmakers reportedly demanded that MOFA contact other countries hit by the violence, such as South Korea and Japan, in putting up a joint front to work for compensation.

The regular weekly Cabinet meeting Thursday morning was also dominated by the riots in Vietnam. Premier Jiang Yi-huah said the safety of Taiwanese nationals was of the utmost importance to the government.

The decision to set up a special taskforce would make contacts between ministries easier, he said, adding that its formation had been a result of a meeting by President Ma Ying-jeou with top national security officials Wednesday evening.

While Taiwanese airlines were adding flights to evacuate Taiwanese from Ho Chi Minh City, the representative office in Vietnam was also sending officials to the airport to help them with formalities, Jiang said.

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