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Jakarta Post

Indonesia and the South China Sea dispute

  • Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto

Singapore   /   Mon, July 4 2011   /  08:00 am

In a Foreign Affairs article last year, Robert Kaplan wrote that notwithstanding its continental being, China would eventually expand seaward as a consequence of growing overseas commercial interests and soaring demands for energy imports. It is too early to tell whether China’s seaward turn will create instability in the maritime domain. But one must comprehend the fact that the shift is inevitable.

The recent incidents and tension in the South China Sea (SCS) are but only symptoms of China’s growing maritime assertiveness. The US Energy Information Administration reports that Chinese sources estimated the area to hold as high as 213 billion barrels of oil and 2 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. Not to mention its significance for fisheries and international navigation. Given these factors, the tension stemming from the dispute seems natural. It is, however, ev...