RI urged to support int’l tribunal ruling


Making up roughly half of the population of Southeast Asia, Indonesia stands to lose a lot from the looming danger of flaring tensions in the South China Sea (SCS). Open conflict in the region’s main waterway will undoubtedly become an impediment to the country’s maritime axis plans, as well as to its economic growth and development.

Beyond national interests, an escalation of conflict will adversely affect a large portion of the global maritime trade passing through the SCS.

Experts have hinted at the possibility of wider intervention by non-disputing parties concerned over the possible loss of freedom of navigation and overflight in the region.

Indonesia is afforded a good opportunity to showcase its leadership in the region by cementing the rule of law as the prevailing basis for engagement among disputing parties. Therefore, Jakarta is being urged to take a stance on the ongoing dispute as an international tribunal is expected to rule on Tuesday.

Any failure to do so could make the situation worse because it might prompt third parties to intervene by staging freedom of navigation “exercises” to maintain access.

This would in turn encroach on the jurisdiction of states situated around the area, said Melda Kamil Ariadno, a professor of international law at the University of Indonesia.