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Friday, May 16, 2014, 05:24 am PT (08:24 am ET)

Apple supplier Foxconn forced to shut Vietnam factory due to protests

Apple's chief manufacturing partner, Foxconn, has been forced to shut down its operations in Vietnam for three days due to anti-China protests over oil drilling.

Foxconn


China recently started drilling for oil near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, a chain of islands controlled by the People's Republic of China, but claimed by Vietnam as well as Taiwan. Dispute over ownership of the islands has prompted protesters in Vietnam to ransack factories near Ho Chi Minh City.

Violence already forced manufacturers associated with shoemakers Nike and Adidas, as well as Walmart, to halt productions. And now, as a cautionary measure, Foxconn has done the same, according to the Financial Times.

In a statement, Foxconn said it has done so to "ensure the safety" of its employees. Foxconn workers in Vietnam have been instructed to take a three-day leave of absence starting Saturday.

At least 21 people are said to have been killed thus far in the violence.

Foxconn is Apple's chief supplier and assembler, responsible for the lion's share of production of devices like the iPhone and iPad. It's unknown how much of Foxconn's Apple-related production is accomplished in Vietnam.