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.