Leaders of the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency warned that China’s new maritime law increases the risk of “widespread conflict” in the country’s territorial waters around the Natuna archipelago, where the two countries once fought. sea.
On the morning of February 5, Deputy Admiral Aan Kurnia, head of the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla), said at a parliamentary session earlier this week: “With China “There are more and more tense actions in the South China Sea, and considering the reactions of major countries with interests in those waters, there is a risk of conflict escalation.”
|Bakamla ships are now equipped with machine guns to better cope with intruders in Indonesian waters. Photo: Bakamla|
Mr. Aan mentioned the new law passed by China, which came into effect on 1 February, allows mainland coasters to use all “necessary” means, including opening fire in advance to against “threats from foreign ships” in Beijing’s claimant waters.
The Philippines recently sent a diplomatic note protesting against China’s new customs law. Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi also voiced his “deep concern” about the law.
China has faced criticism from the international community, especially the condemnation of many of its Southeast Asian neighbors for its illegal sovereignty claims over much of the South China Sea.
According to the Morning China Post, Indonesia does not have any claims in the South China Sea, but China’s sovereignty claims overlap legally recognized areas within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Indonesia, including the waters surrounding the Natuna Islands, is a cause of tensions in bilateral relations.
Although Bakamla is not part of the Indonesian military but is part of the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, there is a view among Chinese military officials that China is a growing threat to with national sovereignty.
An article published in December 2020 by the Indonesian Army College of Army Command and Staff concludes, “China’s military attacks against the Nantuna archipelago have a high risk of occurring when China is intentional. military planning and potential “to launch such raids from Beijing bases for illegal construction on the Vietnamese Spratlys.
The article also alleges that China intends to annex Nantuna islands to exploit natural gas fields if the Indonesian government does not accept Beijing’s request to co-produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) from regional reserves. According to the authors, to prevent this from happening, Indonesia needs to upgrade its defense equipment, integrate the capabilities of all military forces, and deploy the Army to the Anambas Islands.
However, analysts such as defense researcher Muhammad Haripin of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences recommend that the article should not be construed as a sign that the Indonesian army is ready for war.
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