June 14 (UPI) — Widespread protests in Vietnam following a government decision to create new special economic zones are escalating fear of property damage among South Korean companies in the country.
While the protests have targeted China and Chinese presence in Vietnam, South Korean businesses say they have suffered some minor damage and disruption of operations, Yonhap reported Thursday.
“There is no particular movement in the Binh Thuan, Dong Nai and Long An regions where [South] Korean companies are concentrated, but protests continue in regions and in cities where Chinese factories are located,” the Korea International Trade Association said in a report Thursday.
After about 100 people were arrested, hundreds of demonstrators assembled in Tan Huong Industrial Park, in the southern province of Tien Giang, holding banners that read, “I love the fatherland — don’t let China lease our land,” the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.
Vietnamese workers are concerned that more special economic zones could increase China’s economic footprint in the country.
In Seoul, KITA said while South Korean businesses are not the target of demonstrations, minor damage was found and operations disrupted.
Protesters damaged the entry gates to a factory park in Tien Giang province, where Korean companies retain plants.
Six South Korean companies have suspended operations because of the protests, Yonhap reported.
The protests began Saturday at a Taiwanese-owned shoe plant, Pou Yuen, in Ho Chi Minh City.
KITA said South Korean firms will stay shuttered for the remainder of the week.
Hanoi has set up three new special economic zones that would allow 99-year concessions.