We are not setting a war, but we are driving them out to protect our own areas
Malang, Jawa Timur (ANTARA) - Indonesia is firmly strengthening its maritime patrol in Natuna waters, Riau Islands Province, to expel China’s fishing boats which illegally operated over the territory, as Mahfud MD, the Minister of Coordinating Politics, Law and Security remarked.

“The patrol will be strengthened. Our vessels currently operating in other regions will be mobilized there to drive them out,” Mahfud said in Malang, East Java, Sunday.

Safeguarded by the Chinese coast guard vessels, Chinese fishing boats have repeatedly trespassed into Indonesia's economic exclusive zone near the Natuna Islands for poaching. The Indonesian foreign ministry has lodged a strong protest over China's recent violation.

The Indonesian naval ships have already been prepared to secure the country's sovereignty though Mahfud noted that the measures taken were not meant to engage a war with China.

“We are not setting a war, but we are driving them out to protect our own areas,” Mahfud said.

The Chinese Government unilaterally claims the Natuna waters as its own by declaring a Nine Dash Line. Indonesia has never recognised this China's claim.

The Nine Dash Line is made by China based on its historical maritime rights. As a result, China claims that the region of South China Sea region which extends around two million kilometers from the land of China to hundreds of kilometers from the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam belongs to it.

“China declares that the region is their traditional rights since their fishermen are going there for thousands of years. But what is the principle of that, and what things to prove?,” Mahfud questioned.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982, the Natuna waters belong to Indonesia’s economic exclusive zone that China, whatsoever, has no rights over the region.

The Indonesian Government affirms that there is no room for negotiating the issues of Indonesian EEZ near the Natuna Islands as Indonesia will always uphold the UNCLOS 1982.

Related news: Indonesia needs ocean going vessels to secure its EEZ: Luhut
Related news: Navigation freedom in South China Sea should remain upheld: Japan

Translator: Vicki Febrianto, Suwanti
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2020