Jakarta (ANTARA) - Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aziz Syamsuddin, has praised the Indonesian government over its rejection of China’s unilateral claims in the Natuna waters, Riau Islands, over the “nine-dash” line.

Aziz remarked that the government no longer needs to negotiate because Indonesia’s rights over the North Natuna Sea region have been confirmed under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS.

"Do not let the Indonesian government open a compromise space related to the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia," he cautioned in Jakarta on Thursday.

He said, based on Article 4 of Law Number 5/1983, Indonesia has the right to exploration and exploitation in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Aziz revealed that international shipping and flights can be operated in the zone, but they must be in accordance with applicable international laws.

"Other countries are only allowed to explore and exploit natural resources in the EEZ, on the condition that they first ask permission from the Indonesian government," he averred.

The Golkar Party politician said the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on July 12, 2016 on the South China Sea has rejected the unilateral claim by the Chinese government over the existence of the “nine dash” line.

Aziz explained that Indonesia does not have any overlapping international boundaries with China, and therefore, China should respect the applicable international laws.

This would result in regional stability, both in the ASEAN region and in the Indo-Pacific region as a whole, he added.

"The South China Sea is a strategic region in the trade route that connects the entire Indo-Pacific region, so only good cooperation and mutual respect will create regional stability in the Indo-Pacific region, which is currently the region with the highest economic growth," he said.

He stressed that the Natuna waters are strategic to efforts towards countering all forms of traditional and non-traditional threats to the nation's security, such as drug trafficking and terrorism.

Aziz then asked the Indonesian Government to continue to strengthen national security near the North Natuna Sea, both in terms of security and military infrastructure.

"Indonesia upholds the aspect of freedom of navigation, which is the international norm. Indonesia hopes the South China Sea issue will soon be resolved through various international cooperation instruments so as not to cause instability in the region," he said.

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Translator: Imam B, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Gusti Nur Cahya Aryani
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