China on Thursday asked Vietnam to look after the safety of its citizens and stop provocative actions after two Chinese nationals were killed and more than 100 were injured in the most violent anti-China protests swept through Vietnam in the past 24 hours.
At least 10 more Chinese nationals remain unaccounted for, the official state news agency, Xinhua said.
Apart from the deaths and injuries, more than 600 Chinese business people and tourists have crossed Vietnamese border into Cambodia to escape anti-China riots in Vietnam, Cambodian National Police spokesperson Kirt Chantharith was quoted in agency reports as saying.
“We point out that the trashing, looting and burning of Chinese companies has everything to do with Vietnamese connivance with anti-China forces and lawbreakers,” Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson said in Beijing on Thursday.
The attacks on Chinese follow damages inflicted on at least 15 factories in the southern province of Binh Duong amid anger over a Chinese oil rig being moved in disputed waters of the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands claimed by both Vietnam and China.
Read: Up to 21 dead, doctor says, as anti-China riots spread in Vietnam
Vietnam and China fought a border war in 1979. Ties have normalised since the early 1990s.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the victims were from Taiwan, which China claims as part of the Mainland.
“We have been following relevant reports closely. We are deeply shocked by this report and express our serious concerns. Chinese diplomats in Vietnam are marching days and nights to the scene which is in a remote area and are checking on the relevant situation.
The Chinese foreign ministry is making an emergency appointment with the Vietnamese Ambassador to China and lodged solemn representations,” Hua said.
Besides China, Singapore and Taiwan have called on Vietnam to protect their citizens.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has issued an order for the violence to be brought under control as the country seeks to preserve its status as a home for foreign companies producing clothes, shoes and furniture.
“The protests were held throughout Wednesday. The rioters attacked our four Chinese companies constructing an iron and steel complex invested by China's Taiwan," a Chinese manager in Ha Tinh, which is some 300 km south of Vietnamese capital Hanoi, told Xinhua."
“They broke into our offices, wrecking and looting the properties, and burned our dormitory Among the four Chinese companies there, China 19th Metallurgical Corporation (MCC19) was the most seriously hit."So far, around 10 staff lost contact with us and at least 55 workers were wounded,” an official with MCC19 said.
“The security forces here were far less enough, leaving our workers and the Vietnamese policemen badly attacked before two o'clock this morning,” he added.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Thursday ordered the Ministry of Public Security to ensure security and absolute safety for lives and assets as well as normal operation of all companies, especially foreign invested firms.