The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian government announced on Friday a plan to construct a new military base to guard border areas near South China Sea.
Defence Ministry held a meeting on Friday with The National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) to discuss the plan.
'Our meeting today is aimed at synchronizing our ambition to guard the national interest and protect the sovereignty of our territory,' Bappenas chief Andrinof Chaniago said as quoted by Antara news agency.
Andrinof said he proposed the establishment of a joint research team to carry out the plan. He said there were several potential locations for the base. So far, the options referred to were areas in Sambas, West Kalimantan; Natuna Islands, Riau Islands and Tarakan, North Kalimantan.
'The findings from the team will be conveyed to President Jokowi [Joko Widodo], who will make his decision. We hope that in the near future, the plan will be realized,' he said.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said that an Indonesian military base in the territory is urgent considering the high potential of future conflict between different countries.
'I previously worked in West Kalimantan and I believe that building a military base in that territory is a very good decision. We have natural resources that we need to guard,' said Ryamizard, who was the Army Chief of Staff under the Megawati administration.
Ryamizard, therefore, welcomed Bappenas' proposal.
'I don't want to see a Sipadan-Ligitan conflict occurring again under the current administration. The Defense Ministry is ready to support the plan,' he said, referring to the two small Islands off East Kalimantan that have previously been a source of conflict between Indonesia and Malaysia. (ika)(++++)