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Vietnam official vows to suppress illegal actions in anti-China protests

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-05-14 13:58

HANOI - Tran Van Nam, vice chairman of Binh Duong Province People's Committee, said in a interview on Wednesday that Binh Duong is determined to suppress those who force others to take illegal actions.

Vietnam official vows to suppress illegal actions in anti-China protests
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On Tuesday, the anti-China protests in Binh Duong Province, some 1,120 km south of Vietnamese capital Hanoi, turned violent. Thousands of protesters broke into foreign factories. The subsequent vandalism and looting lead to over 1,000 factories shutting down and over 15 factories burning down. Most of the factories belong to China's Taiwan invested companies, local Chinese told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Tran Van Nam said the province is concentrating on quickly stabilizing the situation and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of investors and laborers, while local people told Xinhua the violent situation was still not settled on Wednesday morning.

Nam made the remarks to the local VNExpress online newspaper on Wednesday, noting that "the province will strictly handle those who took advantage of the situation to provoke, disturb and cause damage to people's assets, companies and the state." According to the official, some 19,000 workers took part in a demonstration to protest China.

Initially, the protest was a mild one. However, later several extremists provoked the crowd, destroying factory gates and attracting more workers to join the protest, the report said.

Many foreign companies asked their workers to go home early for fear of the crowd getting into their offices and factories. Several extremists used the messy situation to steal assets and burn factories, as well as beat security guards and experts, said Nam on VNExpress.

China's Foreign Ministry issued a travel advisory for Chinese citizens headed to or in Vietnam.

The notice urged Chinese travelers to "carefully consider travel plans and go with caution" and for Chinese residents and organizations in Vietnam to "raise their risk awareness and strengthen security."

China last Friday urged Vietnam to respect China's sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea and stop provocative actions.

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remarks at a regular press briefing. She reiterated that the Xisha Islands are the inherent territory of China and there are no disputes in this area.

The waters of China's drilling operations are only 17 nautical miles from China's Xisha Islands, she said, adding that the operations are about 150 nautical miles from Vietnam.

The operations of Chinese companies in waters off the Xisha Islands fall completely within China's sovereignty, she said, noting that it is untenable for any country to make irresponsible remarks or impede China's normal oil drilling in its territorial waters.

From May 3 to 7, Vietnam dispatched 36 vessels, which rammed Chinese vessels up to 171 times.

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