Indonesian government asked to keep intensive communications on South China Sea

Indonesian government asked to keep intensive communications on South China Sea

Hanafi Rais. (fraksipan.com)

Indonesia has to protect its sovereignty over its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in South China Sea ..."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Deputy chairman of the Commission I of the House of Parliament Hanafi Rais asks the government to maintain intensive communications with other ASEAN countries on developments in South China Sea.

"Indonesia has to protect its sovereignty over its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in South China Sea and for that purpose intensive communications is necessary with neighboring countries having territorial disputes with China," Hanafi said here on Tuesday.

Communications with other ASEAN member countries are necessary to prevent misinterpretation that the plan to build military base in Natuna was a militarization move threatening neighboring countries, he said.

The plan is a form of measured move against the threat of China on the Indonesian EEZ territory, he said.

China has said its has maritime dispute with Indonesia in South China Sea.

Hanafi said ASEAN must not be split by Chinese strategy in South China Sea.

Meanwhile the government needs to intensify economic activities to exploit EEZ, he said.

In a limited cabinet meeting on board a warship in Natuna water led by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) Earlier earlier, Indonesian military chief Gen. Gatot Nurmanto spoke about plan to build defense system around Natuna.

President Jokowi also said that priority would be given for the Natuna islands in economic development especially in fishery and energy sectors.

"Development of outermost areas needs special addressing and should be given priority," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi quoted the president as saying.

The visit to Natuna by President Jokowi and a number of cabinet ministers and security officials followed recent incident when an Indonesian warship seized a Chinese fishing boat found poaching in the Indonesian exclusive economic zone.

Beijing protested the seizure saying a crewman was injured after the Indonesian navy fired at the fishing boat, which refused to stop and tried to flee.

Jakarta denied that no one was injured as the nay fired shots at the air and at the sea in front of the boat one of more than tens fishing vessels poaching in Indonesian EEZ waters.

Observers said the cabinet meeting on board a war ship in Natuna was to emphasize Jakartas determination to protect the countrys sovereignty over its exclusive economic zone in South China Sea off Natuna.
(Uu.H-ASG/O001)

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