Indonesia says it feels peace efforts on South China Sea ‘sabotaged’

admin   •   March 22, 2016   •   2278

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi makes a statement at the Foreign Ministry in Jakarta, Indonesia March 21, 2016.REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi makes a statement at the Foreign Ministry in Jakarta, Indonesia March 21, 2016.REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Indonesia “feels sabotaged” in its efforts to maintain peace in the disputed South China Sea and may bring its latest maritime altercation with China to an international court, a minister said on Monday.

Indonesia is not embroiled in rival claims with China over the South China Sea and has instead seen itself as an “honest broker” in disputes between China and the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

But an incident on the weekend involving an Indonesian patrol boat, and a Chinese coastguard vessel and fishing boat in what Indonesia said was its waters has angered it and led to its questioning of its work to promote peace.

“We feel interrupted and sabotaged in our efforts,” fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti told reporters in Jakarta after meeting Chinese embassy officials to discuss the incident in the Natuna Sea, an area between Peninsular Malaysia and the Malaysian province of Sarawak on Borneo island.

“We may take it to the international tribunal of the law of the sea,” Pudjiastuti said.

Pudjiastuti said the Indonesia patrol boat had fired warning shots in the air when it approached the Chinese trawler.

Indonesia’s Deputy navy chief, Arie Henrycus Sembiring, told the news conference the navy would send bigger vessels to back up its patrol boats in the region.

Indonesia says one of its patrol boats on Saturday attempted to detain a Chinese boat fishing illegally in its waters. Eight Chinese crew members were detained but the Chinese coastguard prevented Indonesia from confiscating the fishing boat.

On Monday, China’s foreign ministry repeated that the fishing boat was operating in “traditional Chinese fishing grounds”, again demanded the fishermen be released and added the Chinese coastguard vessel did not enter Indonesian waters.


China and Indonesia do not contest the sovereignty of the Natuna islands and the seas around them: both agree they are part of Indonesia.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reiterated that on Monday.

“The sovereignty of the Natunas belongs to Indonesia. China has no objections to this,” Hua told a regular briefing.

Any maritime disputes should be resolved by talks and China also opposes illegal fishing, Hua said.

Earlier on Monday, Indonesia protested to China against what it described as an infringement of its waters by the Chinese coastguard vessel.

“We conveyed our strong protest (over) … the breach by the Chinese coastguard of Indonesia’s sovereign rights,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters after she met Chinese embassy representatives in Jakarta.

Pudjiastuti said the eight detained Chinese fishermen would be processed in accordance with Indonesian law.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a strategic shipping corridor, also rich in fish and natural gas, where several Southeast Asian countries also have overlapping claims.

While Indonesia and China are not disputing the South China Sea, tension between them does flare every now and then, usually over Chinese fishing boats.

In March 2013, armed Chinese vessels confronted an Indonesian fisheries patrol boat and demanded the release of Chinese fishermen who had been apprehended in Natuna waters.

Similarly, in 2010, a Chinese maritime enforcement vessel compelled an Indonesian patrol boat to release another illegal Chinese trawler.

(Additional reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor, Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Robert Birsel)

US reaffirms pledge to defend PH vs any attack in South China Sea

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The United States has reaffirmed its pledge to defend the Philippines against any attack in the South China Sea, according to U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price, as published in the US Embassy in the Philippines website.

Price said Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on January 27 spoke with Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr. in which the two officials “reaffirmed that a strong U.S.-Philippine Alliance is vital to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

Price emphasized America’s rejection of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea, reiterating the importance of the Mutual Defense Treaty for the security of the Philippines and the US.

“Secretary Blinken stressed the importance of the Mutual Defense Treaty for the security of both nations, and its clear application to armed attacks against the Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, which includes the South China Sea,” Price said.

“Secretary Blinken also underscored that the United States rejects China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea to the extent they exceed the maritime zones that China is permitted to claim under international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention,” Price added.

Price also emphasized America’s pledge to stand with Southeast Asian claimants in the face of PRC pressure.

“The two secretaries committed to continue building upon a relationship founded on shared strategic interests and history, democratic values, and strong people-to-people ties,” the official said. -AAC

Philippines protests China’s new law allowing coast guard to fire on foreign vessels

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has filed a diplomatic protest over China’s new law allowing its coast guard to fire on a foreign vessel in areas it claims in the disputed South China Sea.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin broke out the news in a tweet on Wednesday (January 27).

The new Chinese law was passed and adopted on January 23, 2021, authorizes the China Coast Guard to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”

It covers the South China Sea where several Southeast Asian nations are into a territorial conflict.

Locsin said such a law can be likened to a “verbal threat of war” to any country that would defy it.

China’s new legislation is expected to escalate tensions anew among claimants in the disputed territory including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Gordon lauds Locsin for filing diplomatic protest vs China’s new law

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A senator on Thursday commended Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for filing a diplomatic protest against a new law passed by China that allows its coast guard to shoot foreign vessels in the contested areas in South China Sea.

“I commend Secretary Locsin for taking a very important and valiant action by standing up for our rights. He did right by our country, and we support him wholeheartedly,” Senator Richard Gordon, chairperson of the Senate Committee on justice and human rights, said in a statement.

Locsin on Wednesday said he has filed a diplomatic protest against China for its new law, which he called a “verbal threat of war” to any country that defies it.

China’s legislative body last week passed the law that allows its coast guard to undertake all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.

“When another country claims the oceans surrounding us, which we claim, even threatens to demolish our fishing boats or fishing boats of any country that get to that ocean or that sea, this is a serious cause for concern. This is a shot in the bow of all the claimants in the territories,” Gordon said.

Other senators have also expressed concern over the measure that could endanger the lives of Filipino fishermen who venture in the disputed parts of the West Philippine Sea.

The law is expected to stoke tensions anew in the waters where the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes the Philippines and 3 other South China Sea claimants, are currently negotiating for a more binding code of conduct in the contested waters. 


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