Indonesia is considering using drones and submarines to strengthen its grip over the gas-rich waters around the Natuna Islands in response to China’s growing military presence in the South China Sea.
These comments by Indonesia’s security chief Luhut Panjaitan in an opinion piece Wednesday in the Kompas newspaper represent some of the most direct yet by the nation over China’s claims in the water. They highlight unease in the government even as it maintains it is not a party to regional disputes over the waters.
“Only a few people were predicting the imaginary nine-dash line raised by China since 2009 would have a strong military and political affect,” wrote Panjaitan, the coordinating minster for security, politics and law. “This is on the back of the speedy economic development which automatically has given China a large military budget. Such a massive military spending has enabled the Chinese armed forces to have a presence in the South China Sea that is worrying the United States.”