Indonesia’s Military Flexes Muscle as S. China Sea Dispute Looms


Jakarta. In a move that could have serious repercussions for the security situation in the South China Sea, Indonesian officials on Wednesday acknowledged that China was claiming part of Indonesia’s Riau Islands province as its own territory.

The Indonesian Military’s (TNI) Air Commodore Fahru Zaini, who is a member of the defense strategy unit at the office of the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said that China had included parts of the Natuna Islands within its so-called nine-dash line.

This line indicates the border of China’s maritime claims, comprising almost the entire South China Sea. An image depicting the nine-dash line was also included in newly issued Chinese passports.

“What China has done affects the Unitary State of Indonesia,” Fahru said in Natuna on Wednesday.

“As such, we have come to Natuna to see firsthand the strategic position of the TNI, especially in its ability, strength and its deployment of troops, just in case anything should happen in this region.”

Indonesia is not the only country whose territory China has laid claim to, with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan all experiencing similar problems in the South China Sea.

Fahru emphasized that in order to protect Indonesian territorial integrity, it was important to strengthen social cohesion in the country’s outlying areas, like the district of Natuna.


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