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China demands Indonesia drop new name for Natuna waters

  • News Desk
    News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sun, September 3, 2017 | 03:51 pm
China demands Indonesia drop new name for Natuna waters Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo stands on deck of Indonesian Navy ship KRI Imam Bonjol after chairing a limited Cabinet meeting in Natuna Islands waters in the province of Riau Islands. (Kompas/.)

China has issued a demand for Indonesia to reverse its decision to rename the South China Sea (SCS) waters that lie within Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In July, the Indonesian government named the maritime region in question, which lies north of the Natuna Islands, the “North Natuna Sea."

Channel News Asia reported that the Chinese Foreign Ministry sent an official note to the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing dated Aug. 25, expressing its opposition to the move.

In the letter, China said Indonesia’s move to change an “internationally accepted name” resulted in the “complication and expansion of the dispute, and affects peace and stability”.

“The China-Indonesian relationship is developing in a healthy and stable way, and the South China Sea dispute is progressing well,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. “Indonesia’s unilateral name-changing actions are not conducive to maintaining this excellent situation.”

China and Indonesia had overlapping maritime claims in the southwest of the South China Sea, Beijing said, adding that renaming the area would not change that fact.

Shortly after renaming of the area, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said Indonesia had every rights to make the decision.

“The North Natuna Sea falls within our territory, not within the South China Sea […] We have the right [to rename the waters], the North Natuna Sea is ours,” Susi said.

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