Indonesia President Joko Widodo walks previous a nationwide flag throughout his go to at a army base in Natuna, close to South China Sea, Indonesia January 8, 2020. Laily Rachev/Courtesy of Indonesian Presidential Palace/Handout by way of REUTERS
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s army stated on Thursday that Chinese language coast guard vessels and fishing boats had left disputed waters within the western reaches of the South China Sea following a go to by President Joko Widodo to say his nation’s sovereignty.
Throughout latest weeks, Jakarta summoned China’s ambassador after the coast guard and fishing boats entered waters across the northern Natuna islands, the place Indonesia has established an unique financial zone.
Indonesia stepped up air and sea patrols within the space, and on Wednesday Widodo visited one of many islands to drive dwelling the message that it was Indonesian territory, at which level, his army stated, the Chinese language vessels stop the world.
“From the commentary of our planes, they’re not there,” army spokesman Main Common Sisriadi advised Reuters on Thursday. “They left as quickly because the president arrived on the Natuna.”
Nursyawal Embun, director of sea operations on the Maritime Safety Company, stated, nonetheless, that one ship — HAIJING35111 — was nonetheless within the “Indonesian continental shelf waters.”
China has not claimed the Natuna islands themselves, however says it has close by fishing rights inside a self-proclaimed 9-Sprint Line that features many of the vitality wealthy South China Sea – a declare disputed by some Southeast Asian nations and isn’t acknowledged internationally.
In 2017, Indonesia renamed the northern part of its unique financial zone because the North Natuna Sea, as a part of a push again in opposition to China’s maritime territorial ambitions.
On Wednesday, Chinese language overseas ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated Beijing and Jakarta are involved by way of diplomatic channels to “take care of variations and uphold peace and stability in bilateral relations and the area”.
Sisriadi stated Indonesia’s navy would proceed operations within the space.
Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Stanley Widianto; Modifying by Gayatri Suroyo and Simon Cameron-Moore