President Joko Widodo in a cabinet meeting on board Navy warship KRI Imam Bonjol 383 in the Natuna waters, Riau Islands, on June 23, 2016. (Photo: Twitter/@jokowi)

The dispute continues.

Tunggul Kumoro   04 September 2017 15:30

Another protest has been launched by China regarding the new Indonesian map unveiled by Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs last July.

The Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry sent an official note to Indonesian Embassy in Beijing containing a rejection to Indonesian's decision to rename the South China Sea to Laut Natuna Utara or North Natuna Sea on the map.

In the note dated August 25, 2017, quoting Channel News Asia, China considered Indonesia's decision to change internationally accepted name could result in more convoluted debate that may affect peace and stability.

"The Chinese-Indonesian relationship is developing in a healthy and stable way, and the South China Sea dispute is progressing well," read the letter.

"Indonesia's unilateral name-changing actions are not conducive in maintaining this excellent situation."

Both China and Indonesia have overlapping maritime claims in the southwest of the South China Sea, and changing the name of the region will not make any difference to that fact, according to Beijing.

The renaming of Natuna region by Indonesia came after the Den Hague's Permanent Court of Arbritation's decision on a South China Sea dispute between China and the Philippines in 2016. The court decided that China is not authorized to intervene Philippine’s decision in naming its maritime territory.

So far, Indonesia has not been involved in a claim dispute over the area in the South China Sea. Yet, the naming of North Natuna Waters overlaps China's unilateral declaration of nine-dashed lines.  

Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan on July confirmed that the changing of the name on the map only occurs to the sea that is still in the state’s sovereignty and it does not affect other countries’ territory.

“The change in our map is still in our territory, it does not touch South China, still in zone 200 km, that is still our region,” Luhut said.


 

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