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Hanoi Starts Payments to Riot-Hit Companies


Vietnamese security officers set up a fence outside the Chinese Embassy, Hanoi, May 18, 2014.

Vietnamese security officers set up a fence outside the Chinese Embassy, Hanoi, May 18, 2014.

Vietnam has made an initial payment of more than $7 million in compensation to nearly 140 businesses, including Taiwanese and Chinese companies, that came under attack during anti-China riots last month.

At least two Chinese workers died and dozens were injured when anti-China protests turned ugly in some parts of Vietnam. More than 1,000 people were reportedly arrested for their involvement in the violence.

Hanoi has also pledged to help affected firms recover from the worst unrest in years by offering initiatives such as tax deferments.

The move comes as Vietnam’s parliament, the National Assembly, concluded its latest session with a strong statement saying China’s placement of a controversial oil rig in the South China Sea "seriously violates Vietnam’s sovereignty and international laws."

But the Assembly did not issue a resolution on the tensions in the South China Sea as recommended by some members, sparking mixed reactions from the public.

On the Facebook page of VOA’s Vietnamese Service, one reader criticized the decision, calling the lawmaking body a rubber-stamp that does not listen to people’s voices.

But Dinh Xuan Thao, a lawmaker, told VOA's Vietnamese service that it is not necessary to pass a resolution at this time.

“If the two countries exhaust all peaceful measures, then a resolution should be taken into account," the legislator said. "The Assembly has so far backed all suggestions by the government. Many people have urged us to issue a resolution, but I do not understand what they really want to do with it. We have made a decision regarding the support for forces working at sea.”

The Assembly this month endorsed a budget of more than $756 million to support its maritime forces and fishermen as they are facing challenges amid tensions with China.

Dinh added that the government is exploring ways to bring China to an international arbitration tribunal and has not yet officially proposed the move to the Assembly.

In another development Tuesday, China urged Vietnam to stop "any form of disruptions to Chinese operations" in the South China Sea after Hanoi release new footage accusing Chinese vessels of ramming into one of its fisheries surveillance ships.

Since China’s deployment of the controversial rig in early May in waters that Hanoi also claims, the two countries have traded accusations of aggressive behavior.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.

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