Tag Archives: Natuna

100 China-registered vessels encroaching on Malaysian waters in South China Sea: Minister

KUALA LUMPUR – About 100 China-registered boats and vessels were detected in Malaysia’s waters near Beting Patinggi Ali in the South China Sea on Thursday (March 24), said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim amid rising regional tensions over the contested waters. Shahidan was quoted by state news agency Bernama as saying that the government had instructed the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to deploy its assets to monitor the situation. “Three MMEA vessels have been deployed to the area. The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) assets are also there. The Bombardier aircraft has also carried out aerial monitoring in that area and found a group of Chinese fishermen there,” Shahidan told reporters on the sidelines of Parliament. http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/100-china-registered-vessels-encroaching-on-malaysian-waters-in-south-china-sea

Indonesia looks to boost defenses around Natuna Islands in South China Sea

JAKARTA – Indonesia plans to strengthen its capability to defend its land and waters in the South China Sea, namely the Natuna Islands around which the country has declared an exclusive economic zone that overlaps with China’s “nine-dash line” maritime claim, its defense minister said Tuesday. “The Natuna Islands are our outer islands. It is quite natural and logical that a country has to secure its outer islands,” Ryamizard Ryacudu said in an interview, speaking to Kyodo News ahead of “two-plus-two” security talks in Tokyo on Thursday that will involve the foreign and defense ministers of Indonesia and Japan. “We have to strengthen our military capability to anticipate any threats like illegal fishing or something like illicit intrusion and many kinds of nontraditional threats entering into our territory,” he added. According to Ryamizard, Indonesia plans to deploy a fleet of jet fighters and three corvettes to the islands, revamp its naval and air force base and deploy more troops. Read more: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/12/16/asia-pacific/politics-diplomacy-asia-pacific/indonesia-looks-boost-defenses-around-natuna-islands-south-china-sea/#.VnTvypN95n6

Indonesia to voice concerns on China’s maritime claims at ASEAN summit

JAKARTA – Indonesia will openly express its opposition to China’s vast claims in the South China Sea when Southeast Asian senior officials, ministers and leaders gather over the coming days in Kuala Lumpur for a series of annual meetings, stressing that China’s “nine-dash lines” map has no legal basis, a government source said Friday. The area contained in the lines, which covers most of the South China Sea, overlaps with the exclusive economic zone around Indonesia’s Natuna Islands. Indonesia protested against China’s map when it was submitted to the United Nations in May 2009. The source, citing a position paper, said Indonesia will say during meetings of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations that it does not recognize China’s claims based on the nine-dash line map because it “clearly lacks international legal basis,” and therefore Jakarta considers the claims to be in a state of “non-existence.” Although Indonesia is not a claimant state in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, it has been warily monitoring China’s development of infrastructure there, including rig and lighthouse construction, as well as its seismic surveys and fishing activities, the paper says. It says Indonesia will stress that it has sovereignty over maritime territory in Natuna Sea and some parts of the South China Sea and therefore needs “to maintain its sovereignty and its sovereign rights in each maritime zone.” Through diplomatic channels and notes, Indonesia has been repeatedly seeking clarification from China on the nine-dash line, which was shown on a map published in 1947 by the then-Republic of China to justify its claims in the South China Sea, but to no avail, the source said. The source said Indonesia will continue playing a positive role in helping to resolve the disputes among the claimants on occasions such as the ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Meeting and during meetings with China aimed at drafting a legally binding code of conduct in the South China Sea. Read more: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/11/21/asia-pacific/indonesia-voice-concerns-chinas-maritime-claims-asean-summit/#.VlEuLd8rLaa

Najib: Resolve South China Sea issue through peaceful means

Disputes on territorial claims over the South China Sea should be resolved through peaceful means and in accordance with international laws, said Najib Abdul Razak. Opening the 27th Asean Summit at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, the Malaysian prime minister urged all parties to the disputes to exercise restraint. “We stress the importance of resolving disputes through peaceful means, in accordance with international laws including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). “We call on all parties to exercise restraint and avoid actions that would complicate or escalate tension,” he said. Read more: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/320469

41 Years in the Making: Why China’s South China Sea Plan Will Fail

While China’s recent assertiveness in the South China Sea might shock and surprise today’s observers, its behavior has actually been remarkably consistent over recent decades. China first exercised its power in the region in January 1974 when it ejected South Vietnam from the Crescent Islands. In March 1988, the Chinese Navy clashed with Vietnamese vessels, which resulted in Chinese occupation of seven islands in the Spratlys. In 1995, China occupied Mischief Reef which fell in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. It then began building and reinforcing structures on neighboring reefs. In April 2012 China’s clashes with the Philippines continued over Scarborough Shoal, which was eventually occupied by China. Chinese attention then moved to Second Thomas Shoal. In March 2014, Chinese coast guard vessels prevented Philippines cargo vessels from resupplying a contingent of marines stationed in a wrecked vessel there. Read more: http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/41-years-the-making-why-chinas-south-china-sea-plan-will-12828

US, Indonesian Navies Conduct Air Patrol Exercise in South China Sea

On Thursday, the the U.S. and Indonesian navies carried out a joint maritime air patrol in the waters around the Natuna archipelago. The patrol involved 88 personnel overall. The United States committed a P-3C Orion fleet comprising four ships and 21 personnel. In terms of Indonesian hardware, the Indonesian navy committed CN-235 and NC-212 short take-off and landing (STOL) maritime patrol aircraft in addition to a BO-105 helicopter. The air patrol exercise focused on a variety of operational scenarios. In broad terms, it covered maritime domain awareness, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR). The Jakarta Port reported that the “Indonesian Navy’s Aviation Center and the US Navy held a joint sea surveillance exercise in the Malaka Strait and around Natuna Island, located in the South China Sea, to improve security as well as [sic] Pacific rebalance.” The Jakarta Post cited the U.S. Embassy’s defense attaché, who remarked that the air patrol exercise was “part of the Pacific rebalance.” Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2015/04/us-indonesian-navies-conduct-air-patrol-exercise-in-south-china-sea/

South China Sea And Indonesia’s New Maritime Strategy – Analysis

Strategically responding to China’s conflict escalation in South China Sea, newly elected President Widodo announced Indonesia’s New Maritime Strategy in November 2014. Contextually, Indonesia should have responded much earlier for a redefinition of Indonesia’s maritime postures in keeping with China’s enlarging escalation of conflict in the South China Sea against Indonesia’s ASEAN neighbours. Regrettably this did not take place for multiple reasons which prompted earlier Indonesian political dispensation to adopt a “Hands-Off” policy posture on South China Sea conflicts. Indonesia’s previous Foreign Minister thought it more prudent to adopt such an attitude as China’s military brinkmanship had directly not touched Indonesia. Also, the prevailing view was that with such a posture, Indonesia would be enabled to play the role of a ‘honest broker’ and not antagonise China. Such a policy steered and dominated by the previous Foreign Minister was strongly contested by Indonesia’s powerful military who viewed with alarm China’s conflict escalation with Vietnam and the Philippines and China’s creation of artificial islands in the South China Sea for supplementing China’s strategy to achieve what I have always termed at international seminars as China’s strategy of achieving “Full Spectrum Dominance of the South China Sea”.   Read more: http://www.eurasiareview.com/26022015-south-china-sea-and-indonesias-new-maritime-strategy-analysis/

Indonesia & China struggling over the South China Sea?

Is Beijing targeting Indonesia? According to The Diplomat, the Natuna Islands may be the next claim of China in the South China Sea. But the difference this time is the fact that it belongs to Indonesia. Beijing recently promulgated a map with certain boundaries that claims parts of the South China Sea, including the Natuna Islands as part of its territory. Unfortunately, Beijing faces negligible resistance to the ongoing annexation of the South China Sea. Over the last two years, China has reinforced its territorial ambitions via intimidation, coercion, military force, naval patrols, localised blockades, oil rig placements, construction of facilities on numerous small islands and sub-surface shoals, as well as antagonistic and hostile actions directed to ASEAN claimants. 2013 map by SinoMaps Press. Dashes in pink denote Beijing’s claimed “nine-dashed line” (now comprising ten dashes). Superimposed black dashed lines indicate hypothetical ways of connecting the two southernmost dashes in Beijing’s self-proclaimed southern boundary. All three hypotheticals overlap with Indonesia’s claimed territory around the Natuna Islands. Until recently, Indonesia seemed immune to China’s territorial ambition, with Indonesia’s government offering itself as an honest broker and neutral mediator for conflicts amongst its neighbours – China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan. But China’s recent inclusion of the Natuna region in newly sanctioned maps and Chinese passports, Indonesia’s newly elected President, Joko Widodo, may have to answer China’s aggression as part of a foreign policy response and in order to protect Indonesia’s territorial integrity.   Read more: http://theindependent.sg/blog/2014/10/14/indonesia-china-struggling-over-the-south-china-sea/

Indonesia: A Bigger Role in the South China Sea?

Sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea are at the heart of increasing tensions in Southeast Asia. In early May, the dispatch of a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters and the subsequent standoff with Vietnam had the effect of centralizing global attention on the confrontation between China and some of its ASEAN neighbors. Although tensions over contending maritime boundaries are not just about China – unresolved bilateral disputes still exist between Malaysia and the Philippines for instance – recent events confirmed that the South China Sea, along with East China Sea where Sino-Japanese relations are also increasingly strained, is a locus of China’s growing maritime assertiveness. So far, China’s activity in the region has met the uneven responses of Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, all having claims of their own. Other, non-claimant actors also have a role in these disputes. The United States is not claiming any territory in the East and South China Seas but made clear nonetheless that it had a “vital interest” in unimpeded freedom of navigation in the region. In the South China Sea, Indonesia has on several occasions denied having any territorial dispute with China, but monitors the evolution of the general situation with great care. It is also very involved in the management of these disputes: Jakarta has long been a vocal proponent of a legally binding Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea. It has sponsored a series of dedicated workshops on the issue. When the ASEAN Phnom Penh Summit failed to result in a joint closing statement for the first time in the organization’s history – due to Chinese pressure over the very issue of South China Sea disputes – it was the shuttle diplomacy efforts of Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa that saved the day. Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/indonesia-a-bigger-role-in-the-south-china-sea/

Beijing’s dangerous arrogance in the South China Sea

China’s current behaviour vis-à-vis its South China Sea neighbours is aggressive, arrogant and smacks of Han chauvinism and ethnocentrism. Far from being an expression of national pride, it is giving patriotism a bad name. Patriotic Hongkongers should recognise it for what it is: a dangerous ploy. Not only has Beijing bared expansionist teeth to Vietnam and the Philippines, it has now succeeded in shifting Indonesia from a position of trying to act as a moderator between China and the other South China Sea states to opponent. Twice in recent months, Indonesia has accused China of claiming part of its Natuna island archipelago. So much for a “peaceful rise” when you rile neighbours with populations of more than 400 million, who you assume to be weak. All China’s sea claims are wrapped up in that nine-dash line which extends more than 1,000 nautical miles from the coasts of Guangdong and Hainan to close to Borneo, the island shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, and includes almost all the sea between Vietnam and the Philippines. This claim encompasses more than 90 per cent of the sea, even though China (including Taiwan) has only about 20 per cent of the coastline. All this on the basis of claims to history that conveniently ignore the very existence of other peoples and their histories of seafaring and trading going back 2,000 years, and pre-dating China’s ventures in the south sea and beyond. Indonesians got to Africa and colonised Madagascar more than 500 years before Zheng He. In turn, the peoples of Southeast Asia absorbed more from India and the Islamic world than China. In the case of the current issue with Vietnam, brought about by China’s movement of a drillship into waters due east of Danang, China has a small case, in that it does now own the Paracel Islands, which are closer to the drill location than to Vietnam. But the islands themselves have long been in dispute between the two, a matter settled for now by China’s unprovoked invasion of them in 1974.   Read more: http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1514360/beijings-dangerous-arrogance-south-china-sea