Jakarta, MINA – The parties who are involved in the South China Sea conflict, especially in the North Natuna waters, Riau Islands, must obey the law. It was conveyed by the British Minister for Asia Pacific Heather Wheeler.
“We believe that all parties involved must comply with international maritime law,” Wheeler said firmly answering reporters’ questions about Britain’s position in the Natuna conflict, at the British Embassy in Jakarta on Wednesday, as quoted from Republika.com.
The beginning of 2020 was opened with a dispute between Indonesia and China after Chinese fishing vessels entered the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the North Natuna waters and fishing illegally.
The dispute was compounded by the existence of China’s coast guard vessels protecting the fishing vessels carrying out activities that violated the rules.
China, unilaterally based on traditional maritime rights, claims that Natuna waters are part of its maritime territory called the Nine Dash Line.
However, China’s claim was not recognized by Indonesia, which adhered to the 1982 international sea law agreement, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The UNCLOS 1982 clearly stated that Natuna waters were included in the Indonesian EEZ section, which was also the basis for the Indonesian government to send a memorandum of protest through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We expect relevant parties to take appropriate legal steps and there are no more improper land acquisition issues. However, once again, the problems that occur must be resolved through legal mechanisms,” Wheeler stressed.
Later, Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI), which had previously conducted strict guard and expelled several Chinese ships in the Natuna Sea, stated that the Chinese ships had left the Indonesian EEZ.
An air patrol on Sunday afternoon showed that the position of Chinese ships was beyond 200 miles marking the outer boundary of Indonesian territorial waters, so-called Commander of the Joint Regional Defense Command I Rear Admiral Yudo Margono. (T/Sj)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)