Indonesian president to assert sovereignty in islands visit


 Two empty hangers stand near the beach at Ranai Airbase on Natuna Besar, Indonesia July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne/File Photo

Two empty hangers stand near the beach at Ranai Airbase on Natuna Besar, Indonesia July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne/File Photo

The Indonesian president will travel to the Natuna Islands for the first time on Thursday to assert Indonesia’s sovereignty, a senior official said, after China said earlier this week it had an “overlapping claim” over nearby waters.

Beijing said on Monday that waters near the Natuna Islands were subject to overlapping claims on “maritime rights and interests” between China and Indonesia.

Indonesia’s foreign minister on Wednesday rejected China’s stance, saying the waters were in Indonesian territory.

“Our position is clear that claims can only be made on the basis of international law. For Indonesia, we don’t have overlapping claims in any form in Indonesian waters with China,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters.

The chief security minister, foreign minister, and the heads of the individual military branches will accompany the president on his trip to Natuna, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Agung told reporters.

Asked the reason for the trip, he told reporters, “Natuna is the territory of Indonesia, that is final. As head of the government and the state, the president wants to ensure that Natuna is part of Indonesia’s sovereignty.”

The remote island chain has a small civilian population. Jakarta objects to Beijing’s inclusion of waters around the islands within China’s “nine-dash line”, a demarcation line used by Beijing to show its claim to the South China Sea.

Despite the objection, Indonesia is not part of a broader regional dispute over China’s reclamation activities in the South China Sea and Beijing’s claims on swathes of key waterways.

China’s Foreign Ministry said over the weekend that an Indonesian naval vessel fired on a Chinese fishing boat near the chain of islands on Friday, wounding one person.

Indonesia’s navy responded that it had fired warning shots at several boats with Chinese flags it accused of fishing illegally but that nobody had been wounded.

It was the third reported confrontation near the Natuna Islands this year and comes amid rising regional tensions over China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla told Reuters on Monday the Southeast Asian nation would be more assertive in protecting its exclusive right to the waters around the Natuna Islands.

Despite this more assertive stance, Retno said relations between the two countries remained good.

“This is a matter of law enforcement, not politics,” she said.

(Addditional reporting by Jakarta bureau; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Michael Perry and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source: Reuters “Indonesian president to assert sovereignty in islands visit”

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3 Comments on “Indonesian president to assert sovereignty in islands visit”

  1. Fre Okin says:

    ““Our position is clear that claims can only be made on the basis of international law. For Indonesia, we don’t have overlapping claims in any form in Indonesian waters with China,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters.”

    Indonesian leaders are about to show their lack of literacy in international law, like the Philippines. International law clearly define Territorial Waters as up to 12 NM. 200 NM EEZ is Not Territorial Sea. 200 NM EEZ is Only a Maritime Resource Allocation to the coastal country. Maritime Resource Allocation per UNCLOS does not give Explicit authority for coastal/achipelagic countries like Indonesia/Philippines the right to use Domestic Law with Navy to Enforce the maritime resources.

    It is very easy to understand why law enforcement in 200 NM Should Not involve the Navy compared with 12 NM Territorial Sea. If countries with the 200 NM EEZ like Indonesia, PH are allowed to carry out law enforcement Based On their own Domestic Interpretation of UNCLOS and use the Navy, then why is it Necessary for UNCLOS to separate 12 NM from 200 NM EEZ? The separation of these areas of the sea simply implies law enforcement in the EEZ should Not involve the Navy which is for Sovereign purpose. 200 NM is Not Sovereign, thus Indonesia should be condemned, even by China enemies.

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    • Sentinel says:

      Absolutely. ASEAN nations MUST voiced up against Jakarta’s unilateral claim of extra 188 miles of territory. They are in fact declaring war against all SCS littoral countries that they ARE annexing maritime territory. Which IS illegal. Which means and imply ASEAN countries, China, Korea, Japan, Russia, Australia and even U.S. and the rest of the world should stand up and face Jakarta down – “Just who do you think you are, you little tin-pot dictator? Stand down and stay at your 12-mile limit!”

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      • Fre Okin says:

        It is Very Important for China to stand her ground. This problem with Indonesia is an Opportunity for China to show she is In Fact a law abiding country vs Thuggish behavior smaller countries like Indonesia which unfortunately follow Philippines footsteps.

        China can use the Japanese fishery agreement with Taiwan in the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute to show the world as a gold standard to abide by. Other disputants with Indonesia should also point out this fact. Shame Indonesia till she stop sinking fishing boats, harm fishermen and give them fishery quotas.

        Indonesia should educate her citizens 200 NM EEZ does not allow navy enforcement and giving fishery quota is the way to go. I am sure they can understand the Taiwan-Japan fishing quota settlement example.

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