Japan to help develop Indonesian islands in South China Sea


Tokyo says it will spend millions of dollars on fishery facilities in a remote island chain

Japan said Monday it will provide 2.5 billion yen (US$23 million) in aid to Indonesia for the development of fishery facilities on remote islands, at a time when China’s clout in the region is increasing.

The signing of a document on the aid was witnessed by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi in Jakarta, who discussed issues ranging from economic cooperation and maritime security to anti-terrorism measures.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono with Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi following their meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, on June 25, 2018. Photo: Reuters
The help, which is part of Tokyo’s efforts to promote its “free and open Indo-Pacific strategy,” will be used to build ports and fishery facilities by January 2020 on Indonesia’s six outer islands, according to a Japanese official.

The islands include Natuna on the southern edge of the South China Sea, where Chinese and other foreign fishing vessels continue to operate illegally.

The six islands do not have sufficient cooling and freezing facilities for sea produce and the aid is designed to improve their infrastructure and economic activity, according to Japan’s Foreign Ministry.