No Border Conflict With China, Foreign Minister Says
Date 6 Oktober 2016
Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said that military exercise conducted in Natuna Island is Indonesian Air Forces routine exercise. A similar exercise was also conducted in 2013.
This years military exercise which is conducted in Natuna Island is a part of Indonesian Air Forces routine exercise, Minister Retno told the reporters after accompanying President Joko Jokowi Widodo in a 2016 Angkasa Yudha Airforce Combat Exercise on Thursday (6/10), in Natuna Regency, Riau Islands Province.
The Minister explained that Natuna Islands is one of Indonesias outermost islands that needs to be strengthened, including through the strengthening military capacity by conducting routine exercise in the islands. President Jokowi said that Indonesias outermost islands must be strengthened. Therefore, the exercise is one implementation of Governments policy to strengthen the outermost islands, the Minister added.
However, the strengthening in Natuna Island is not limited in the military sector only.
Retno said that the Government is also committed to strengthening economic aspects of Natuna community. Therefore, besides witnessing the military exercise, President Jokowi also inaugurated airport and fishery industry area in Natuna during his visit to the islands.
Thus, the point is to improve the Governments presence in Natuna, be it on economic, social, and other sectors, the Minister said.
On that occasion, Retno asserted that Indonesia currently only has problem in border issues with Malaysia and Vietnam, both of which are under negotiation. Indonesias maritime sector is not overlapping with the People’s Republic of China. I confirm that Indonesia maritime sector is only overlapping with Malaysia and Vietnam, but we are still negotiating that issue, Retno added.
Also on that occasion, Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI) Commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo stressed that the Presidents policy on Indonesias outermost islands is the strengthening of islands considered strategic. The strengthening will be conducted gradually according to the current economic condition, Gatot said.
Strengthening on air, water, and land areas will be conducted gradually according to the current economic condition. It will apply to all strategic outermost islands, such as Natuna, Biak, Morotai, Saumlaki, and Merauke, Gatot further said.
Gatot also ensured the Governments measures to Natuna and other outermost islands are not meant to encounter tensions with the Chinese Government related to the conflict in the South China Sea.
According to Gatot, the strengthening is conducted to maintain the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia as a whole.
If we do this only to encounter China, we do not have to strengthen Biak, Morotai, and Saumlaki. The strengthening measure aims to maintain the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, Gatot firmly said.
Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung accompanied President Jokowi and First Lady Ibu Iriana in the event. There were also Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi, and TNI Commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo attended the event. (BPMI Setpres/ES)(RAS/EP/YM/Naster)