TAIPEI—Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Burma has advised Taiwanese companies operating in the country to fly the island’s flag and hang signs stating they are from Taiwan to avoid being confused with China, after Chinese-financed factories were set ablaze.
China’s embassy said many Chinese staff were injured and trapped in arson attacks on Sunday by unidentified assailants on garment factories in the Yangon suburb of Hlaingthaya, and that it had called on Burma to protect Chinese property and citizens.
China’s ruling communist party has been working to increase its political soft power in Burma, to the protest of many Burmese locals.
OANN TV host and former Navy intelligence officer Jack Posobiec told The Epoch Times that the Chinese Communist Party has a long history of supporting Burma, whether it is led by Suu Kyi or the former military junta. The CCP sees its southeast neighbor as an important source of rare earth metals and a strategic corridor to the Indian Ocean. Burma and southwestern China’s Yunnan Province share an extensive border.
Taiwan is home to a large Sino-Burmese population and there are close cultural and business links.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday only one Taiwanese company was caught up in the violence, with 10 of its nationals trapped inside the premises though they were safe.
It said Taiwan’s representative office in the country had got in touch with Taiwanese firms after receiving reports of the attacks on Chinese-invested firms.
The office “suggested Taiwanese businesspeople hang signs in Burmese reading ‘Taiwanese company’ at their factories and to hang our country’s national flag, and explain to local workers and neighbours they are a Taiwanese factory, to avoid outsiders getting confused and misjudging.”
Taiwanese firms in Southeast Asia have been confused for Chinese ones in protests before, including in 2014 when thousands of Vietnamese set fire to foreign factories in an angry reaction to Chinese oil drilling in a part of the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam.
The Epoch Times reporter Frank Fang contributed to this report.