Why Indonesia is reaffirming its position on the South China Sea and turning down China’s offer for bilateral talks


JAKARTA: Amid recent activities in the South China Sea, the Indonesian government has reiterated its position on the rule of international law through diplomatic notes addressed to the United Nations, while declining China’s offer to hold bilateral talks on overlapping claims.

In a diplomatic note dated May 26, Indonesia reiterated that it is not a party to the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. It added that the nine-dash line map which China uses as a basis for its claims in the waters lacks an international legal basis.

Beijing responded by sending a diplomatic note pointing out that there is no territorial dispute between China and Indonesia in the South China Sea.

The note on Jun 2 also said: “However, China and Indonesia have overlapping claims on maritime rights and interests in some parts of the South China Sea.

“China is willing to settle the overlapping claims through negotiation and consultation with Indonesia, and work together with Indonesia to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.”