MPR urges bolstering coast guard fleet strength in Natuna waters

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Chairman Bambang Soesatyo (Bamsoet) appealed to the Indonesian government to fortify the coast guard fleet in Natuna waters owing to China's adventure in North Natuna Sea either continuing or recurring.

"I remind the government that the Chinese adventure in the North Natuna Sea will continue or repeat itself. Hence, strengthening the Indonesian coast guard fleet in the Natuna waters will be highly relevant," Bamsoet noted in a statement here on Tuesday.

China's provocation in the Natuna waters in the second week of December 2019 was a repeat of a similar event in March 2016.

Bamsoet affirmed that in March 2016, Chinese fishing vessels had entered illegally into the Natuna waters to conduct poaching, and the Coast Guard of China had stalled the attempt of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) to seize the vessels.

"The same mode was applied in December 2019, as dozens of Chinese fishing vessels entering Natuna waters were escorted by Chinese coast guard forces as well as frigate warships for Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF) activities. Hence, it was a kind of a joint plan to steal fish by involving official organs of the Chinese government," he stated.

In July 2017, China objected to Indonesia's initiative to rename South China Sea as North Natuna Sea.

Beijing was quick to condemn the Indonesian initiative, and during that time, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesman, Geng Shuang, viewed the name change as being unreasonable, he stated.

"The International Arbitration Court on the South China Sea in 2016 ruled that China's claims about the Nine-Dash Line in the Natuna waters as the territorial boundaries of the Chinese sea have no historical basis," the Golkar Party politician stated.

In line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 whose legality was strengthened by the 2016 International Arbitration decision, Indonesia must not withdraw from the North Natuna Sea.

Hence, he called for the need for negotiations with any party, including China, to maintain the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia over the North Natuna Sea.

"To realize its ambition to control the Natuna waters, China will certainly continue its adventures in the North Natuna Sea. They will continue to provoke Indonesia, especially the TNI serving in those waters," he cautioned.

Hence, he emphasized that strengthening the Indonesian coast guard fleet in Natuna waters will be highly relevant.

Source: Antara News

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