Thursday, May 12, 2011

Complaint lodged after Vietnam issued visa stamped with ‘Province of China'

By Shih Hsiu-chuan / Staff Reporter

Taipei has lodged a complaint with Vietnam and demanded a correction after a lawmaker produced a copy of a Vietnamese temporary residence card issued by Hanoi to a Taiwanese that was stamped “Taiwan Province of China,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei, speaking in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday, displays a copy of a Vietnamese temporary residence card stamped with the words “Taiwan Province of China.”
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
“The ministry spoke with Nguyen Ba Cu, director of the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, by telephone to express the government’s serious concern and to protest the matter,” ministry spokesman James Chang (章計平) told reporters.

While questioning Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) at the legislature, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) showed a copy of the document, saying: “Visas issued by Vietnam to Taiwanese state that Taiwan is a province of China.”

It was subsequently determined that the document Chen said was a “working visa” given to her by a Taiwanese working in Vietnam was in fact a temporary residence card, in which “Taiwan Province of China” was stamped in the space left for applicants to write their nationality or passport number.

The temporary residence card was issued on Dec. 12, 2008, and was valid for three years.

Chen said the holder of the document did not initially notice the reference to “Taiwan Province of China” when he renewed the document in 2008, but the holder was sure that the reference to his nationality in previous documents stated “Republic of China [ROC].”

“After noticing the change, he said he questioned Vietnamese authorities and was told the change was made with the consent of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Chen said.

The ministry denies the allegation.

Chang said the ministry had been informed by the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei that visas issued by Vietnam to holders of ROC passports only contain the word “Taiwan,” and that only visa exemption certificates issued to Taiwan spouses or children of Vietnamese citizens used the designation “Taiwan Province of China” when referring to nationality.

The ministry has asked for corrections to be made to the visa exemption certificates, Chang said.

The ministry received a Vietnamese official yesterday afternoon, but details of the meeting were not available as of press time.


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