Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) here on Monday was unequivocal in his declaration that Indonesia will not negotiate with any party over its sovereignty, particularly regarding the country's territory in the Natuna waters in Riau Islands.
"There is no negotiation regarding matters pertaining to sovereignty and our territory," the president remarked at the opening of a cabinet session at the State Palace.
Jokowi made the statement in connection with the spike in tensions between Indonesia and China in the past few days over Chinese fishing vessels trespassing into Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Natuna waters.
The fishing vessels were escorted by the Chinese Coast Guard in the waters some 130 miles off Ranai waters, Natuna.
The Indonesian Navy has deployed eight warships to patrol and secure the waters.
President Jokowi also lauded all his aides' statement on the issue that mirrored Indonesia's steadfastness in defending its sovereignty.
Earlier on Sunday, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD emphasized that Indonesia will defend its sovereignty and not negotiate with China in connection with the issue of Natuna waters.
Drawing reference to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he pointed out that the waters near Natuna Islands have been acknowledged as Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and territorial waters, thereby annulling the need to bilaterally negotiate this matter.
Indonesian naval ships have already been prepared to secure the country's sovereignty, though Mahfud noted that the measures adopted were not intended to engage in a war with China.
In connection with the recent violations of Chinese coast guard vessels in the Indonesian EEZ near the Natuna waters, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry has lodged a diplomatic protest by summoning China's ambassador in Jakarta.
The Chinese Government unilaterally claims the Natuna waters as its own by declaring a Nine Dash Line. Indonesia has never recognized this claim of China.
The Nine Dash Line is made by China based on its historical maritime rights. Consequently, China claims that the South China Sea region, extending some two million kilometers from the land of China to hundreds of kilometers from the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam, belongs to it.
Source: Antara News