The protest followed a claim by a Taiwanese opposition lawmaker that Vietnam refers to Taiwan as a 'province of China' in temporary residence cards it issues to Taiwanese businesspeople.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that it had formally expressed its concerns and lodged a protest.

'We hope the Vietnamese side will rectify it soon,' it said.

This was a second incident involving the sensitive name issue, after the World Health Organization (WHO) allegedly bowed to Chinese pressure and told its officials to describe Taiwan as a Chinese province.

President Ma Ying Jeou on Tuesday protested to China and the WHO while urging Beijing to treasure the improvement in ties since he came to power in 2008.

The Strait Times _ May 11, 2011