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.


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