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Violence trashing Vietnam's image

Chinese citizens evacuated from Vietnam arrive at Xiuying port in Haikou, southern Chinas Hainan province on May 20, 2014. AFP PHOTO

Chinese citizens evacuated from Vietnam arrive at Xiuying port in Haikou, southern Chinas Hainan province on May 20, 2014. AFP PHOTO

Chinese ships arrived in Vietnam on Monday to evacuate thousands of Chinese nationals after anti-foreigner violence resulted in many Chinese casualties last week. The evacuation is an emergency response to the security situation in Vietnam and a non-confidence vote in Vietnam's investment environment.

For Vietnam, the failure to prevent the rioting has tarnished its image as a favourable destination for international investment and tourism, which could have severe consequences for its economy, said a Xinhua commentary.

The social unrest has disrupted the normal operations of foreign-invested companies and undermined the confidence of not only Chinese investors, but also investors from other countries as well.

Besides Chinese companies, a large number of South Korean, Japanese and Singaporean plants have fallen prey to the Vietnamese mobs and the factories forced to shut down.

Such a tough situation will certainly prompt foreign investors to have second thoughts about doing business in Vietnam - a country whose fast-growing economy is thirsty for foreign capital.

China has so far exercised maximum restraint and hasn't announced any retaliatory measures, but it has advised its nationals against travelling to Vietnam due to safety concerns and suspended part of its bilateral exchange plans with Hanoi.

Official figures show Chinese tourists paid 1.8 million visits to Vietnam last year, giving a significant boost to the Vietnamese economy. However, Chinese tourists are cancelling planned trips to the country despite the Vietnamese tourism authority's pledge to ensure the safety of foreign guests.

It is worth noting that any mishandling of the anti-China protests and the territorial disputes that sparked them will sacrifice the ties Beijing and Hanoi have worked hard to improve in recent years.

It is advisable for the Vietnamese government to think of the bigger picture and not to get stuck in extreme nationalism, so as to avoid any escalation of the violence and complication of the situation in the South China Sea.

By immediately putting a stop to the violence and any further provocations, Vietnam can work with China to tap the full potential of their economic cooperation in such areas as financial services and industry transfer.

It would also help Vietnam regain its reputation as a stable and friendly country for foreign investors and tourists, rather than a place where violence threatens to burst forth anytime.


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