Be wary of Chinese warships entering Indonesian waters: MP

Be wary of Chinese warships entering Indonesian waters: MP

Sukamta, PKS politician and legislator

Jakarta (ANTARA) - House member Sukamta reminded the government, particularly the Defense Ministry, Defense Forces (TNI), Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS), and related stakeholders, to be wary of the intentions of Chinese warships trespassing into Indonesian waters lately.

Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR RI) Commission I member Sukamta drew attention to several relevant incidents pertaining to Indonesian maritime security and data owing to which vigilance must be stepped up in any situation.

"On several occasions, we have found sea gliders allegedly belonging to China, entering without permission. It is suspected that they collected data on the Indonesian sea. These are only a few that have been caught, while they could be more that we are unaware of," Sukamta cautioned here on Wednesday.

The DPR RI Commission I member gauged that every foreign military movement must be closely monitored, including during humanitarian operations, such as the Chinese Navy’s assistance to Indonesia to lift up the sunken KRI Nanggala-402 submarine.

Sukamta cited two ships belonging to China -- Xing Dao-863 and Ocean Tug Nantuo-185 -- as examples of being appropriate in joining the rescue and lifting operations for the ill-fated Nanggala-402.

However, the Scientific Salvage Tan Suo 2 ship is a scientific research vessel operating under the Institute of Science and Engineering of the Deep Sea of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, so a close watch must be kept out for it, according to Sukamta.

"The ship can conduct dual tasks of helping to lift Nanggala 402 as well as collect data about the Indonesian sea," he pointed out.

Sukamta also drew attention to the joint naval warship exercise between the Indonesian Navy and the Chinese Navy.

The member highlighted the importance of joint exercises to bolster mutual understanding and communication between countries, though inquisitorial whether the warship exercise would provide understanding when each party is later tasked with guarding the country's maritime borders.

"Or will this exercise open up opportunities for collecting data about the sea and the strength of the Indonesian Navy's defense equipment?" he remarked.

Moreover, Sukamta noted that in the last few weeks, Chinese warships had arrived in Indonesia amid tense relations between China and the United States and its ally, Australia, of course having political interests.

Sukamta noted that doubts loomed large over whether an Australian ship intending to help the Nanggala 402, had deliberately left the operation early as it wanted to avoid direct confrontation or feared that the data on Australia’s warship would be exposed.

Related news: Chinese President offers condolences over submarine sinking

"The activities of Chinese warships in Indonesian territory certainly give an impression to the international community about Indonesia's position. Indonesia must act freely and actively and not be dragged into the US-China conflict," he stressed.

The PKS politician urged the Indonesian government, particularly the TNI, to ensure the security of Indonesia's marine data and not get embroiled in the conflict in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, On May 8, 2021, the Indonesian and Chinese navies conducted a joint military exercise in the waters near Jakarta to bolster coordination during emergencies at sea, according to the China Global Television Network (CGTN).

In a 47-second video, CGTN reported on the deployment of two Chinese guided-missile frigate ships — Liuzhou and Suqian — for the joint exercise with the Indonesian Navy.

The joint exercise prioritized communication, search and rescue operations, as well as maneuver formation, the report stated.

Related news: Jokowi thankful for friendly nations' help in search for Nanggala