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Jakarta Post

Natuna conflict pits Prabowo against former allies

  • Karina M. Tehusijarana
    Karina M. Tehusijarana

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Fri, January 10, 2020   /  08:16 am
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Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto salutes journalists before his first working meeting as minister with lawmakers at the House of Representatives.(JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto’s careful response to the tension between Indonesia and China over Chinese fishing vessels in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the North Natuna Sea has drawn sharp criticism from some of the Gerindra Party chairman’s former allies. The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), formerly one of Gerindra’s closest partners, issued a statement criticizing Prabowo’s perceived lack of firmness.  Prabowo had said that the government would handle the situation in a “cool” manner. “We are cool. We are relaxed. We can resolve this amicably. After all, China is a friendly nation,” he said last week.  PKS spokesperson Muhammad Kholid said in the statement that he regretted Prabowo’s “soft attitude” toward China. “Pak Prabowo, as defense minister, should not take iss...