Asserting sovereignty, Indonesia renames part of South China Sea

UNTV News   •   July 14, 2017   •   4944

Indonesian Deputy Minister for Maritime Affairs Arif Havas Oegroseno (C) stands in front of a new map of Indonesia during talks with reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 14, 2017. Beawiharta / REUTERS

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia renamed the northern reaches of its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea on Friday, the latest act of resistance by Southeast Asian nations to China’s territorial ambitions in the maritime region.

Seen by analysts as an assertion of Indonesian sovereignty, part of the renamed sea is claimed by China under its contentious maritime boundary, known as the ‘nine-dash line’, that encompasses most of the resource-rich sea.

Several Southeast Asian states dispute China’s territorial claims and are competing with China to exploit the South China Sea’s abundant hydrocarbon and fishing resources. China has raised the ante by deploying military assets on artificial islands constructed on shoals and reefs in disputed parts of the sea.

Indonesia insists it’s a non-claimant state in the South China Sea dispute but has clashed with China over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands, detaining Chinese fishermen and expanding its military presence in the area over the past 18 months.

Unveiling the new official map, the deputy of maritime sovereignty at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Arif Havas Oegroseno, noted the northern side of its exclusive economic zone was the site of oil and gas activity.

“We want to update the naming of the sea [and] we gave a new name in line with the usual practice: the North Natuna Sea,” he told reporters.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he didn’t know anything about the details of the issue, but said the name South China Sea had broad international recognition and clear geographic limits.

“Certain countries’ so-called renaming is totally meaningless,” he told a daily news briefing. “We hope the relevant country can meet China halfway and properly maintain the present good situation in the South China Sea region, which has not come easily.”

‘Clear Message’

I Made Andi Arsana, an expert on the Law of the Sea from Indonesia’s Universitas Gadjah Mada, said the renaming carried no legal force but was a political and diplomatic statement.

“It will be seen as a big step by Indonesia to state its sovereignty,” he told Reuters. “It will send a clear message, both to the Indonesian people and diplomatically speaking.”

Euan Graham, director of the international security program at the Lowy Institute, said Indonesia’s action followed renewed resistance to Chinese territorial claims by other Southeast Asian states.

“This will be noticed in Beijing,” he said.

Last week, Vietnam extended an Indian oil concession off its coast while a joint venture led by state-owned PetroVietnam commenced drilling further south. China has a territorial claim in both areas.

Meanwhile, the director of the Philippines Energy Resource Development Bureau, Ismael Ocampo, said on Wednesday that the country could lift a suspension on oil and gas drilling on the Reed Bank by December. The underwater mountain, lying 85 nautical miles off the Philippines coast, is also claimed by China.

Exploration activity was suspended in late 2014 as the Philippines sought an international ruling on China’s territorial claim. The Philippines won the case in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague one year ago.

China refused to recognize the decision. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office on June 30 last year, expressed reluctance about enforcing the decision at the time, as he sought deeper diplomatic and economic ties with China.

However, the Philippines lately has become more assertive about its sovereignty.

More than two dozen oil, gas and coal blocks, including additional areas in disputed waters, may be offered during the December bidding, Ocampo said on Wednesday.

Reporting by Tom Allard and Bernadette Christina Munthe; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Bill Tarrant

2 Indonesian soldiers injured in explosion in central Jakarta

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2019

Indonesian forensic policemen check the site of a small explosion at the National Monument Park in Jakarta, Indonesia, 03 December 2019. EPA-EFE/STR

Jakarta – Two Indonesian soldiers were injured, one of them seriously, in an explosion at the National Monument park in central Jakarta on Tuesday, military officials investigating the incident said.

Armed forces spokesperson Eko Margiyono said at a televised press conference that they suspect it was a case of a smoke grenade that exploded during a sports event in the park located near the presidential palace.

Police cordoned off the area, although the monument remained open to the public while investigations continued into the incident.

It was not clear whether the explosion was an accident or an attack.

The two soldiers, who were exercising in the park at the time of the explosion, suffered injuries to their arms and legs, according to images shared on social media.

They were transferred to the intensive care unit of the Gatot Subroto Army hospital, where their condition was stable, according to the authorities.

The incident comes three weeks after a suicide blast at a police station in Medan, on the island of Sumatra, which left six injured.

Indonesia has suffered several extremist attacks over the last two decades, including on the island of Bali in 2002, which killed 202. EFE-EPA

rps/sc/tw

PH resumes stamping on Chinese passports with nine-dash line map

Marje Pelayo   •   November 7, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday (November 6) announced that it will resume stamping of Philippine visa on Chinese regular e-passports.

“We support this policy update of the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs),” BI Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said in a statement.

The BI stopped stamping visas directly on Chinese passports in 2012 under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III in protest to the map of China imprinted on it which shows China’s aggressive claims over the South China Sea using the undefined demarcation line referred to as the “nine-dash line” that encompasses the contested territories such as the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal.

This claim was invalidated in 2016 by the Permanent Court of Arbitration saying it has no legal basis.

But China has never accepted the international court’s ruling in favor of the Philippines but instead, carried on with its reclamation activities in the disputed territories.

The practice of using a separate sheet for Chinese travelers came after a month-long standoff between Chinese and Philippine vessels in the Scarborough Shoal in that same year.

In a memorandum issued by Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, immigration officers are instructed to affix their stamps adjacent to the Philippine visa of a regular e-passport presented by a Chinese passenger in compliance with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) foreign service circular.

This change in policy, Morente said, will address security concerns associated with stamping Philippine visas on a separate paper.

“We support this policy update of the DFA,” said Morente.

“In the past, we have also expressed security concerns over the old practice because sheets of papers can easily be lost,” he added.

Fate of orangutans in question with Indonesia capital move

UNTV News   •   September 5, 2019

East Kalimantan is known for its lush forestry and protected animals, most notably the endangered orangutans, but with the plan to move the capital from Jakarta to the region, conservationists are worried there may be some impact on the ecosystem.

Aldrianto Priadjati, a conservationist from Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, said there will be positives and negatives in the development of the East Kalimantan region, specifically, the biodiversity of the area may suffer.

Fear of uncontrolled city-development has made environmentalists doubtful, even though the government has stressed that it will implement a plan that will ensure the development of the new capital would not have any lasting effect on the environment.

Indonesia’ planning minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said there will be no structures built in the region’s protected areas and there are reforestation plans for the abandoned illegal mines and plantations.

The fate of the orangutans is particularly sensitive in Indonesia given that they have become symbols for campaigners targeting the world’s biggest palm oil industry over the destruction of forests for plantations.

Brodjonegoro also floated the idea of an orangutan conservation center similar to that for giant pandas in the Chinese city of Chengdu. (REUTERS)

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

(+632) 8920.8336 (Fax)

info@untvweb.com (General inquiries)

support@untvweb.com

UNTV News and Rescue Emergency Hotlines:

LANDLINE (+632) 8396-8688

ADVERTISE WITH US

(+632) 8 442.6244 Loc. 143, 144, 162, 164

advertising@untvweb.com

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.