"I order TNI AL to drive away foreign vessels stealing fish in the EEZ," he said at the Raden Sadjad Naval Base in Natuna District, Riau Islands Province on Wednesday.
The TNI chief said Indonesian sovereignty is non-negotiable and is number one.
Right now, no foreign vessel is poaching on the Indonesian sovereign territory, he said.
"This is because our territory is 12 miles from the coastline," he said.
He said foreign ships are allowed to enter the EEZ to make journeys in accordance with the international law. "However, they are banned from entering the EEZ to catch fish," he stressed.
For its part, he ordered TNI AL to drive away any foreign vessel stealing fish in the EEZ.
The Natuna waters have again drawn the attention of national and international media outlets after Chinese coast guard vessels and fishing boats repeatedly violated the Indonesian EEZ rights.
The Chinese vessels were found escorting tens of Chinese fishing boats to poach on Indonesia's EEZ near the Natuna waters on December 19 and December 24, 2019.
In response to these ongoing violations, President Joko Widodo was unequivocal in his declaration that Indonesia will not negotiate with any party over its sovereignty, especially regarding the country's territory in the Natuna waters in Riau Islands.
"There is no negotiation regarding matters pertaining to sovereignty and our territory," the president remarked at the opening of a cabinet session at the State Palace on Monday (Jan 6, 2020).
Related news: 470 fishermen register to operate in Natuna waters: Mahfud
Related news: Chinese investment projects to remain unaffected by Natuna polemic