Indonesia May Take China To Court Over South China Sea


Jakarta is contemplating the possibility of taking China before an international court if Beijing refuses to back down on its claims over the majority of the South China Sea and part of Indonesian territory through dialogue. Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea with a nine-dash line that stretches deep into the maritime hub of Southeast Asia and includes the Natuna islands, which are claimed by Indonesia.

Indonesia says that the Chinese claim over parts of the Natuna islands has no legal basis whatsoever.

“We are working very hard on this. We are trying to approach the Chinese,” Luhut Panjaitan told reporters. “We would like to see a solution on this in the near future through dialogue, or we could bring it to the International Criminal Court.”

Panjaitan might have mistakenly told reporters about taking the country’s grievances to the International Criminal Court considering that it only deals with the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. It appears that he meant the Permanent Court of Arbitration as the international tribunal to solve the South China Sea issue. The security chief also stated that Indonesia is not out to take any violent action in a bid to find a solution before stating that many other countries are equally affected by the issue.

“We don’t want to see any power projection in this area. We would like a peaceful solution by promoting dialogue. The nine-dash line is a problem we are facing, but not only us. It also directly (impacts) the interests of Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines.”

Moreover, Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir says that Jakarta does not recognize the Chinese nine-dash line as it is not in line with international law.

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