SYDNEY – Indonesia has lobbied Southeast Asian countries to carry out maritime patrols in the disputed South China Sea, claimed in most part by China, to improve security, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said on Friday.
Indonesia says it’s a nonclaimant state in the South China Sea dispute, but has clashed with China over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands and expanded its military presence there, and also renamed the northern reaches of its exclusive economic zone, asserting its own maritime claim.
Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne held talks with their Indonesian counterparts Retno Marsudi and Ryacudu in Sydney, ahead of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
Australia is hosting the meeting, despite not being a member of the 10-nation bloc, as it seeks to tighten political and trade ties in the region amid China’s rising influence.
“For the South China Sea, I went around to friends – ASEAN defense ministers – so that each country that faces the South China Sea patrols up to 200 nautical miles, around 230 kilometers,” Ryacudu told reporters at a joint press conference.