Indonesia drives Chinese coast guard vessel off North Natuna waters
JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) has driven off a Chinese coast guard vessel that entered Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the North Natuna Sea near Riau Islands without authorisation.
The vessel, Chinese coast guard ship 5204, was detected by Bakamla patrol ship KN Nipah 321 through an automatic identification system at around 10am local time on Saturday (Sept 12).
According to the agency, the Chinese ship insisted that it had the right to patrol around the so-called nine-dash line – China’s geographic expression in the South China Sea that denotes China’s traditional fishing grounds.
One of the nine dashes slices through waters north of the Natuna Islands.
“Bakamla is currently coordinating with the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister and the Foreign Ministry regarding the matter,” the agency reported through its written statement on Sunday.
KN Nipah 321 is one of the patrol ships Bakamla deployed for Operation Cegah Tangkal (Prevent and Repel) over the western maritime zone.
The operation started on Sept 4 and is set to continue until November.
“The main purpose of this operation is to guarantee sea security in each prioritised maritime zone,” Bakamla chief Vice Adm Aan Kurnia said earlier this month as quoted by Kompas.com.
In 2016, an international tribunal dismissed the nine-dash line as legally baseless. In addition, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) also dismissed China’s nine-dash line and it granted Indonesia sovereign rights to explore and exploit natural resources in its EEZ.
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