TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China is angry and actively pressuring Vietnam to reverse a decision to allow a Taiwanese company to fly the Taiwan flag at its factory, in a bid to defend the company against anti-Chinese sentiment.
Last week, Taiwanese company Kaiser 1 Furniture Industry (凱勝家具) was granted permission to fly the Taiwan flag at its factory near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in a bid to differentiate the company from China.
On July 30, the spokesman of China's Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang (耿爽) said during his regular press conference that the Communist Party of China had brought the issue up with Vietnam and "instructed the relevant companies to correct their wrong practices."
China's demand and intervention in Vietnam's domestic affairs flies in the face of a core principal of international law, which states that each nation has the sole authority to control what happens within its borders.
China, a strong supporter of state sovereignty and vocal critic of perceived interference by foreign actors in its domestic affairs, has once again contradicted one of the core beliefs of its foreign policy.
Risks associated with Taiwanese businesses being mistaken as Chinese in Vietnam are real, and there is an imperative for Taiwanese firms to differentiate themselves.
Recent years have seen numerous anti-China demonstrations and rising anti-China sentiment in Vietnam, which resulted in large scale protests in 2014. After China set up an oil rig in Vietnamese-claimed water the South China Sea in May 2014, anti-China protests erupted in 22 provinces, lasting nearly three months in some places.
Lo Tsu-wen (羅子文), President of Kaiser 1 Furniture Industry told CNA that the company suffered losses totaling around US$1 million (NT$30.6 million) during the 2014 protests.
According to the Pew Research Center, Vietnam has the least favorable view of China out of all countries surveyed in 2017, with only 10 percent of respondents having a favorable view of China.
Huang Chieh-cheng (黃介正), professor at Tamkang University told the South China Morning Post said that "Taiwanese investors must find ways to protect themselves. If Hanoi can't find ways to protect them, it will not be good for its economy.”