The territorial dispute between Indonesia and China on Natuna is heating up again. (Image via Jawa Pos)

Indonesia vs. China on Natuna

The territorial dispute between Indonesia and China is heating up once more. The Middle Kingdom asserted its sovereignty on the waters around Natuna, Riau Islands. For Beijing, the waters are included within the South China Sea territory.

The President of China, Xi Jinping, also said that the claiming is legally acceptable, including the 1982 United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Speaking in Beijing, the spokesman of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Geng Shuang, stated on Thursday that Indonesia’s rejection toward the claim would not do change anything since China’s proposition and position still obey the international law, that objectively, China has rights and interests on the Natuna waters.

Geng also bashed the decision of the International Arbitration Court (IAC) that China’s claim over the South China Sea was illegal. Instead, the spokesman said that the decision is invalid and illegal. Also, Geng said that China was against any parties using such a decision to interrupt its interest.

The showdown between China and Indonesia started when dozens of Chinese fish boats entered Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) guarded by Chinese frigate ships. The Maritime Security Board (Bakamla) detected the activity since 10 December 2019.

After a coordination meeting with the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs (Kemenkopolhukam), Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, said on Saturday that China should obey UNCLOS 1082 and the decision of the IAC.

To guard Natuna, the Indonesian Military (TNI) was also deployed Koarmada 1 and Koopsau 1 units in a self-defense operation.

According to the Indonesian Military Information Center (Puspen TNI), primary weaponry defense systems (Alutsista) deployed were three KRIs, one reconnaissance vessel, and one BOEING from the Indonesian Military Air Force (TNI AU). Meanwhile, two more KRIs are still on their way from Jakarta to Natuna.