Taiwan–Vietnam relations

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Taiwan–Vietnam relations
Map indicating locations of Taiwan and Vietnam



Taiwan–Vietnam relations are conducted on an unofficial level, as Hanoi adheres to a one-China policy and officially recognises the People's Republic of China only. However, this has not stopped bilateral visits and significant flows of migrants and investment capital between Taiwan and Vietnam.[1] Taiwan has been the largest source of foreign direct investment in Vietnam since 2006.[2]

Dutch Formosa[edit]

Vietnamese slaves were taken by the Dutch East India Company to Taiwan when it was under Dutch rule and trade occurred between the Dutch on Taiwan and the Vietnamese. The Dutch had Pampang and Quinamese slaves on their colony in Taiwan, and in 1643 offered rewards to aboriginal allies who would recapture the slaves for them when they ran away.[3] 18 Quinamese and Java slaves were involved in a Dutch attack against the Tammalaccouw aboriginals, along with 110 Chinese and 225 troops under Governor Traudenius on January 11, 1642.[4] 7 Quinnamese and 3 Javanese were involved in a gold hunting expedition along with 200 Chinese and 218 troops under Sernior Merchant Cornelis Caesar from November 1645 to January 1646.[5] "Quinam" was the Dutch name for the Vietnamese Nguyen Lord ruled Cochinchina (which used in the 17th century to refer to the area around Quang Nam in central Vietnam, (Annam) until in 1860 the French shifted the term Cochinchina to refer to the Mekong Delta in the far south,[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] and Pampang was a place in Java which was ruled by the Dutch East India Company in the East Indies. The Dutch sided with the Trịnh lords of Tonkin (Northern Vietnam) against the Nguyen Lords of Quinam (Cochinchina) during the Trịnh–Nguyễn War and were therefore hostile to Quinam.[14][15][16]

Former relations with South Vietnam[edit]

South Vietnam, while it existed, recognised the Republic of China, due to the two countries' common anti-communist policies.[17] Ngo Dinh Diem's government established formal relations with Taipei in 1955. The relationship between the two governments was quite close, much better than Taiwan's relations with other decolonised countries in southeast Asia; Taipei received more presidential visits from South Vietnam than it did from any other country in the region.[18]

Students from South Vietnam studied in Taiwan, and Taipei provided material and logistical support to Saigon during the Vietnam War.[19] Taiwan sought to provide southeast Asian countries with its own hard-earned and bitter expertise in anti-communist affairs, and South Vietnam was a major recipient of these lessons. Taipei's ambassador to Saigon from 1964 until 1972 was Hu Lien, a Republic of China Army general with significant military experience during the Chinese Civil War.[20] Taipei and Saigon were even sister cities.[21] However relations were occasionally strained, especially over the issue of overseas Chinese in the country, many of whom held Republic of China nationality; Taipei was offended by Saigon's low estimates of their population, among other things.[22] Just before the fall of Saigon, South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu fled to Taipei, where his brother was serving as ambassador. An aircraft of Air Vietnam, the South Vietnamese airline, was abandoned at Taipei Songshan Airport and eventually became the property of a Taiwan-based airline.[19]

Collapse and reopening of relations[edit]

After the collapse of its South Vietnamese ally, Taipei initially maintained a policy of zero contact with Vietnam, not even private trade and postal contact. This left it ill-placed to take advantage of the rapid deterioration in relations between Hanoi and Beijing, even during the Sino-Vietnamese War and its aftermath. For its part, Vietnam, like other socialist states, expressed displeasure with Beijing in foreign relations by siding more closely with its rival in the Communist bloc, Moscow; for a socialist country to have contact with capitalist Taipei was unthinkable. However, in the late 1980s, as the Cold War thawed, contact between Hanoi and Taipei slowly resumed; indeed, observers saw this as one of the key events indicating the end of the Cold War in the region.[23]

Bilateral visits[edit]

The aircraft Chang flew to Hanoi

In 2006, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company chairman Morris Chang flew to Hanoi as a special representative of then-President Chen Shui-bian to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Unusually, Chang flew to Hanoi in Chen's presidential aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 operated by the Republic of China Air Force. The aircraft, which displays the flag of the Republic of China and its national emblem, had never before been permitted to land on the soil of a country with which Taiwan lacked formal relations.[24]


Foreign direct investment is an important policy tool of Taiwan; as Samuel Ku argues, Taipei uses "the island's economic resources in exchange for political gains from Vietnam".[25] In the early days of doi moi, Vietnam was very interested in learning from Taiwan's experiences with small and medium enterprises in order to alleviate Vietnam's own chronic shortages of consumer goods.[26] By 2006, Taiwan-based investors had poured US$8 billion into Vietnam, especially in equipment and buildings for conducting labour-intensive manufacturing in export processing zones. This scale of investment made Taiwan Vietnam's largest foreign investor.[19]

Movement of people[edit]

There are tens of thousands of Taiwanese expatriates in Vietnam and Vietnamese people in Taiwan.


  1. ^ Dang 2011, p. 32
  2. ^ Tran 2011, p. 16
  3. ^ Hsin-Hui, Chiu (2008). The Colonial 'civilizing Process' in Dutch Formosa: 1624 - 1662. Volume 10 of TANAP monographs on the history of the Asian-European interaction (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 124. ISBN 900416507X. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ Hsin-Hui, Chiu (2008). The Colonial 'civilizing Process' in Dutch Formosa: 1624 - 1662. Volume 10 of TANAP monographs on the history of the Asian-European interaction (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 84. ISBN 900416507X. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ Hsin-Hui, Chiu (2008). The Colonial 'civilizing Process' in Dutch Formosa: 1624 - 1662. Volume 10 of TANAP monographs on the history of the Asian-European interaction (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 105. ISBN 900416507X. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  6. ^ Reid, Anthony (1993). Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 1450-1680: Expansion and crisis. Volume 2 of Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 1450-1680 (illustrated ed.). Yale University Press. p. 211. ISBN 0300054122. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  7. ^ Hoang, Anh Tuan (2007). Silk for Silver: Dutch-Vietnamese Rerlations ; 1637 - 1700. Volume 5 of TANAP monographs on the history of the Asian-European interaction (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 239. ISBN 9004156011. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  8. ^ last=Kleinen, John; Osseweijer, Manon, eds. (2010). Pirates, Ports, and Coasts in Asia: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. IIAS/ISEAS Series on Maritime Issues and Piracy in Asia (illustrated ed.). Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 71. ISBN 9814279072. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ Li, Tana (1998). Nguyễn Cochinchina: Southern Vietnam in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. G - Reference,Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series (Issue 23 of Studies on Southeast Asia) (illustrated ed.). SEAP Publications. p. 173. ISBN 0877277222. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ Lach, Donald F.; Van Kley, Edwin J. (1993). Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume III: A Century of Advance. Book 3: Southeast Asia. Volume 3 of Asia in the making of Europe: A century of advance (illustrated ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 1380. ISBN 0226467554. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ Mazumdar, Sucheta (1998). Sugar and Society in China: Peasants, Technology, and the World Market. Volume 45 of Harvard Yenching Institute Cambridge, Mass: Harvard-Yenching Institute monograph series. Volume 45 of Harvard-Yenching Institute monograph series (Volume 45 of Monograph series: Harvard Yenching Institute) (illustrated ed.). Harvard Univ Asia Center. p. 90. ISBN 067485408X. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ Gunn, Geoffrey C. (2011). History Without Borders: The Making of an Asian World Region, 1000-1800 (illustrated ed.). Hong Kong University Press. p. 228. ISBN 9888083341. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  13. ^ Lombard, Denys; Ptak, Roderich, eds. (1994). Asia maritima. Volume 1 of South China and maritime Asia (illustrated ed.). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 123. ISBN 344703470X. ISSN 0945-9286. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  14. ^ Volker, T. (1954). Porcelain and the Dutch East India Company: As Recorded in the Dagh-Registers of Batavia Castle, Those of Hirado and Deshima and Other Contemporary Papers ; 1602-1682. Volume 11 of Leiden. Rijksmuseum voor volkenkunde. Mededelingen (illustrated ed.). Brill Archive. p. 11. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  15. ^ Hoang, Anh Tuan (2007). Silk for Silver: Dutch-Vietnamese Rerlations ; 1637 - 1700. Volume 5 of TANAP monographs on the history of the Asian-European interaction (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 210. ISBN 9004156011. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  16. ^ Cheng, Weichung (2013). War, Trade and Piracy in the China Seas (1622-1683). TANAP Monographs on the History of Asian-European Interaction. BRILL. p. 133. ISBN 900425353X. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  17. ^ Ku 1999, p. 406
  18. ^ Chen 2002, p. 62
  19. ^ a b c "Taiwan-Vietnam ties are looking better than ever", China Post, 2006-11-20, retrieved 2011-10-06 
  20. ^ Chen 2002, p. 60-61
  21. ^ Chen 2002, p. 132
  22. ^ An 1967
  23. ^ Chen 2002, p. 65
  24. ^ Engbarth, Dennis (2006-11-17), "Morris Chang arrives in Hanoi for APEC", Taiwan News, retrieved 2011-10-06 
  25. ^ Ku 1999, p. 405
  26. ^ Chen 2002, p. 146