Indonesia protests Chinese vessels in South China Sea

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Indonesia protests Chinese vessels in South China Sea
Indonesia's foreign ministry stressed that it does not have overlapping claims with China over the South China Sea based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
CSIS AMTI via OpenStreetMap

MANILA, Philippines — Indonesia has lodged a diplomatic protest over the presence of a Chinese coast guard vessel in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea.

According to a report from The Jakarta Post, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Chinese Ambassador Xiao Qian to protest Beijing's violations in the Indonesian EEZ.

The Chinese vessel is suspected to have engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities in Natuna waters, the portion of the South China Sea within Indonesian EEZ.

In a statement released on its official website, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected China's historic claims over Natuna waters.

"China's historical claim to EEZ on the grounds that Chinese fishermen have long been active in the waters referred to are unilateral, have no legal basis and have never been recognized by UNCLOS 1982," the statement read.

Jakarta pointed out that this was the argument in the July 2016 decision of The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration on the Philippines' arbitration against China's expansive claims in the South China Sea.

The arbitral tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines, invalidating China's historic nine-dash line claim over the disputed waters.

Indonesia also rejected China's claim of "relevant waters" in the contested waterway as it is not included in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Earlier this week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry insisted that it has "sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and sovereign rights and jurisdiction over relevant waters" of the island group.

"At the same time, China has historic rights in the South China Sea. Chinese fishermen have been carrying out normal fishery production activities in the relevant waters of the Nansha Islands in China, which is legal and reasonable," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a press briefing last Tuesday.

Jakarta, meanwhile, called on Beijing to explain the legal basis and clear boundaries of its claims in the Indonesian EEZ based on the UNCLOS.

"Based on UNCLOS 1982 Indonesia does not have overlapping claims with the PRC so that it is not relevant to have any dialogue on maritime boundary delimitation," the Indonesian foreign ministry said.

In December, Malaysia submitted a request to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to extend its continental shelf beyond the 200-nautical limit in the northern part of the South China Sea.

China, meanwhile, called on the UN committee to not consider Malaysia's partial submission over its territorial waters in the South China Sea.

Beijing accused Kuala Lumpur of infringing its sovereignty as the request for extended continental shelf would pass through the Paracel and Spratly Islands in the disputed waters.








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