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Jakarta Post

Jakarta should not dismiss Beijing’s ‘historic rights’ claim

  • Sourabh Gupta

Washington, DC   /   Sat, January 11 2020   /  01:37 am

In a replay of their face-off dating back to March 2016, Indonesia-China maritime ties are once again embroiled in rising tensions over Chinese traditional fishing practices in the exclusive economic zone adjacent to Indonesia’s Natuna regency. Just this time around, instead of two trespassing Chinese vessels, as many as 63 trespassing vessels have been spotted across 30 locations within Indonesia’s waters, backed by the presence of Chinese coast guard ships. This encroachment is not a matter that can — or should — be taken lightly. Beijing claims that these South China Sea waters are its “traditional fishing grounds” and that the vessels are exercising their “legal and legitimate” rights. Jakarta insists contrarily that it enjoys exclusive and untrammeled sovereign rights and jurisdiction over these North Natuna Sea waters and that the Chinese vessels are engaged in ille...