Rising territorial tensions between China and Vietnam have produced an unintended consequence — collateral damage to Taiwanese plants in the Southeast Asian country.
The largest anti-Chinese demonstrations in recent years erupted in Hanoi and other key cities Tuesday and boiled over into a wave of looting and vandalism on all things Chinese, including Taiwanese plants and other establishments, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.
Vietnamese anger simmered over Beijing’s refusal to remove an oil drilling rig from disputed waters in the South China Sea.
Last weekend, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung strongly criticized China for its behavior at a leaders’ meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
On Sunday, anti-Chinese protests broke out in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hue and Da Nang.
More than 1,000 protesters in Binh Duong province near Ho Chi Minh city smashed factory windows and looted local businesses with Chinese signages, including those owned by Taiwanese firms, the report said.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Ho Chi Minh said four Taiwanese plants were set on fire Tuesday night. Some protesters consider Taiwan a Chinese province but others merely rampaged through the plants without making a distinction, mission chief Huang Chih-peng was quoted as saying.
The Vietnamese government sent anti-riot police to calm the situation and promised to send the military if needed, the report said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has raised a travel alert against Vietnam to the first of a three-level warning.
Tsai Wan-chen, chairwoman of The Taiwanese Businessmen Association, said all of the nearly 1,000 Taiwanese plants there were badly damaged and two people were injured.
Some rioters, armed with iron bars and wooden sticks, stole valuables such as computers, cracked safes and emptied shelves, she was quoted as saying. The rioters outnumbered police.
In Facebook posts Tuesday, some Taiwanese businessmen in Vietnam said that firms from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the United States and Europe have been attacked.
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