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May 18 protests in Vietnam called "pretty calm"
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-18 04:47 PM
Sporadic riots earlier this week had much of Vietnam on edge over demonstrations scheduled for Sunday, but as things turned out the protests were scattered and relatively mild. In the capital city of Hanoi, where reports of movements against the Chinese embassy were feared and embassy personnel had largely been withdrawn, the small number of demonstrators who turned up were quickly dispelled by police. Crowd control devices surrounding the embassy area were cleared away by 11:00am, and traffic throughout the city returned to normal shortly thereafter as police stepped up patrols throughout the city.

There were also small-scale protests in Ho Chi Minh City and other places around the nation, but the atmosphere in Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Ha Tinh provinces in the southern and central areas of the country where violence had erupted earlier was reported as "generally very calm."

Kung Chung-cheng, the ROC Consul General in Vietnam, told reporters Sunday that the Vietnamese government had taken steps to ban large-scale demonstrations, effectively stifling much of the protest fever. Despite the relative calm, personnel in Foreign Ministry and other offices in Vietnam are still on the alert in case the situation should change dramatically, said Kung.

Businesses invested by Taiwanese and entrepreneurs from several other nations have been caught up in the anti-Chinese fever sparked by China’s abrupt stationing of a huge oil drilling rig in a site claimed by both China and Vietnam. On Saturday Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs held an international press conference in which Do Nhat Hoang, the director of the Ministry of Planning’s Foreign Investment Administration, sought to allay fears of unrest in the country.

Hoang noted that in the frenzy of the early protests some demonstrators had caused varying degrees of damage to firms invested in and operated by Taiwanese and other foreign nations. Hoang expressed his sympathy for those affected by the riots and said that currently Vietnam is working closely with affected companies and personnel to offer assistance to victims and help manufacturers resume normal production and operations.

Dang Minh Khoi, an Assistant to the Foreign Minister and head of the Northeast Asia Department of the Foreign Ministry, told reporters that as soon as Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung heard about the violence in central and southern Vietnam, he called several meetings with relevant ministries and local officials to assess the situation, work out solutions to problems, and forestall any further violence.

Khoi added that hundreds of lawbreakers have been detained for investigation in order to understand who fomented the violence. He stressed that those guilty of illegal activity will be punished in accordance with the law.

Khoi said the Vietnamese government greatly appreciates the contributions made by Taiwanese investors in Vietnam. He noted that quick and appropriate action by the Vietnamese government had helped to restore ordered in affected areas and said that hopefully those firms that suffered damage will soon be able to resume normal operations. He said Vietnam will continue implementing any necessary measures to preserve security and absolute safety for foreign agencies, enterprises and people living, studying and traveling in Vietnam.

At the same time, Khoi underscored the Vietnamese government and people’s stance of resolutely protecting the country’s sovereignty and legitimate rights, demanding that China immediately withdraw its Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig from its current position in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf.

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