|Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng. — VNA/VNS Photo Giang Huy|
HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei is actively coordinating with officials from China’s Taiwan to carry out search and rescue activities and provide information on Vietnamese workers trapped in a fire in Taiwan on December 14.
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Việt Nam Lê Thị Thu Hằng made the statement at a regular press conference in Hà Nội in response to reporters’ queries about the accident, which occurred in the city of Taoyuan.
Hằng said that the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei sent officials to the scene and conducted all necessary citizen protection measures.
“We hope to receive more detailed information about the names of the victims at the end of this day,” she added.
According to preliminary information from Taiwan’s relevant agencies, as of noon on December 14, two out of the five injured Vietnamese workers were discharged from hospital while six others are still unaccounted for.
The Vietnamese spokesperson also answered reporters’ queries about the information that the Philippines has exhumed a cadaver that is supposedly the remains of Phạm Minh Tuấn, captain of ship Royal 16, who was kidnapped in the Philippines on November 11, 2016.
The exhumation was made at the request of the Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines, she said.
The exhumation was conducted on December 8 in Jolo, the capital of Sulu province, in the Philippines.
The two countries’ relevant agencies are implementing DNA testing. If the remains are confirmed to be Tuấn’s, Vietnamese authorities will carry out all necessary procedures to bring his body home, Hằng said.
Royal 16, with 19 crew members aboard, was carrying cement from Việt Nam’s northeastern province of Quảng Ninh to the Philippines when it was attacked by pirates.
The pirates kept six crew members, including the captain, as hostages and released the remainder.
The Philippine authorities said Royal 16 was attacked by an armed group while sailing 20km off Basilan island, a bastion of the Abu Sayyaf rebel group.
Two crew members, including a wounded person, escaped and were rescued by another boat. The armed group ran away with the hostages. — VNS