The Jakarta Post
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will visit Natuna, Riau Islands province, on Thursday to demonstrate Indonesia's sovereignty over the waters in the outer part of the archipelago, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said on Wednesday.
The President's visit is deemed timely following spats between the Indonesian Navy and Chinese vessels in the waters, which have been claimed by China as its traditional fishing grounds.
"Natuna belongs to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia [NKRI] and that's final. As the head of government and the head of state, the President wants to make sure that Natuna always remains part of Indonesia," Pramono said.
China protested to Indonesia after a Chinese fisherman was injured on the weekend when the Navy arrested a China-flagged vessel, the Han Tan Cou 19038, along with its seven crew members for allegedly poaching in Natuna waters, a part of the South China Sea that China claims falls within its nine-dash-line territory.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Indonesia would not file a counter protest with China. She saw the action by the Navy, which arrested one of 12 foreign boats suspected of illegal fishing in Indonesia's exclusive economic zone, was correct and sufficient in handling the situation. (yan)