The Vietnamese Ministry of Transport on Monday turned down arequest by a Chinese city to allow thousands of vehicles and passengers enter Vietnam for tourism purposes, citing security concerns.
The ministry attributed the refusal to the fact that conditions to ensure safety and security for the fleet could not be met, according to the official response it sent to the administration of Pingxiang City the same day.
Pingxiang, which borders the northern Vietnamese city of Lang Son, had asked to bring 1,000 vehicles along with 1,500 people into the country on the occasion of a Vietnam-China trade exhibition, which the two cities take turns to host annually in December.
The vehicles were expected to arrive in Vietnam on December 12 and leave at the end of March 2015, according to a document the Pingxiang administration submitted to the Vietnamese ministry on December 1.
With the Pingxiang authorities only seeking permission eleven days ahead of their scheduled arrival, the ministry “did not have enough time to complete preparations to ensure traffic safety and security for the caravan,” Deputy Minister Nguyen Hong Truong told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
The Pingxiang authorities told the transport ministry that upon arriving in Vietnam, the Chinese vehicles would divide into seven groups to travel on different routes to Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Vinh, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Binh Thuan, Vung Tau, and Ho Chi Minh City.
Some of the tourists would even travel to Laos and Cambodia from the country.
The request left the transport ministry unsure so it had to ask for feedback from the ministries of national defense, public security, industry and trade, tourism, and foreign affairs.
The transport ministry was concerned because allowing a large number of vehicles into the country might affect social security and traffic safety even though it supports tourism development, the ministry said in its document sent to the other ministries.
“All of the consulted ministries and industries responded that representatives from Pingxiang should come to Vietnam for a meeting on the issue,” Truong said.
The Ministry of National Defense was the first to give feedback on the issue, saying the request should not be accepted apparently over the same security concerns.