The Jakarta Post
The government has responded to criticism that it has caved to China's might as it destroys a 300-gross-ton (GT) Chinese vessel caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters near the South China Sea.
According to Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, the steel-made Gui Xei Yu 12661 was sunk on Wednesday in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, after it was detonated by the ministry with a low-explosive devise planted on its haul.
The boat was among 41 vessels that were simultaneously destroyed to commemorate National Awakening Day.
Records show that the Gui Xei Yu was detained by the Indonesia Navy in 2009 while it was caught fishing near the South China Sea, which is now a flashpoint of territorial conflict between China and several ASEAN nations.
Aside from China, the government also sunk five boats from Vietnam, two boats from Thailand and 11 from the Philippines.
"This is not a show of force. This is just merely enforcing our laws," said Minister Susi.
Since December, the government has sunk more than a dozen foreign boats from Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, igniting regional diplomatic uproar.
The sinking of the Chinese boat is the first since President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo declared a full-fledge war against foreign poachers in December. (ren)(+++)
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