On Natuna Waters Conflict, President Jokowi: We will Prioritize Peaceful Diplomacy

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 5 Januari 2020
Category: News
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President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has given his direction in dealing with the conflict in Natuna Waters regarding violations of territorial boundaries in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by Chinese vessels.

“In accordance with President Jokowi’s direction, the Indonesian Government remains firm in its stand and will prioritize peaceful diplomatic efforts in dealing with the conflict in Natuna waters. There’s no compromise in maintaining Indonesia’s sovereignty!” tweeted Presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rahman on his Twitter account @fadjroel on Saturday (4/1).

Fadjrol referred to the statement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi following a coordination meeting at the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Jakarta, regarding four statements of the Indonesian government.

The government’s official stands on this issue are as follows:

First, there have been violations committed by Chinese vessels in the Indonesian EEZ region.

Second, the Indonesian EEZ territory has been determined by international law, namely the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).

Third, China is one of the participants of the 1982 UNCLOS; therefore it is an obligation for China to respect the implementation of the 1982 UNCLOS.

Fourth, Indonesia will never recognize nine dash lines or unilateral claims made by China that do not have legal basis and are not recognized by international law.

Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD said that China does not have the rights to claim the Natuna Waters as its territory, while emphasizing that the Government will take steps to safeguard the country’s sovereignty.

“China has no rights because Indonesia does not have a water conflict with Natuna,” Mahfud told reporters in Jakarta, Friday (3/1).

He added that China also had conflicts with neighboring Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, and Taiwan in the South China Sea that has been recognized by the Southern Chinese Sea (SCS) Tribunal in 2016.

“The decision states that China has no rights to it and that all conflicts are not with Indonesia, (but) with other Southeast Asian countries,” said Mahfud.

For the record, under the 1982 UNCLOS, the Natuna Sea Waters constitute Indonesia’s EEZ.

“It is stipulated by UNCLOS – a United Nations unit that sets boundaries on water areas between countries,” Mahfud said. (Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs PR/ES)

Translated by: Muhardi

Reviewed by: M. Ersan Pamungkas

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