Jakarta, IO – Foreign Ministry (Kemlu) responded to the issue regarding the intrusion of Chinese coast guard vessel into the North Natuna waters within Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) since the end of December 2022, reported CNN Indonesia, Tuesday (17/1).
China has unilaterally staked claim to the Natuna waters based on its “nine-dash line” that encompasses as much as 90 percent of the contested waters. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah didn’t see any issue with the action. He commented that based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) there is no problem with foreign ships passing through international waters.
Faizasyah said that it is normal for Chinese and other foreign vessels to pass through Indonesia’s EEZ. “There’s nothing wrong with it,” he said. He explained that the presence of Chinese ships was part of the “freedom of navigation.”
“UNCLOS 1982 guarantees freedom of navigation and in accordance with the convention Indonesia does not have overlapping claims in the EEZ with China,” he added.
Reports regarding the activities of Chinese ships in North Natuna emerged after the Indonesia Ocean Justice Initiative (IOJI) through the Automatic Identification System (AIS) reported that Chinese coast guard vessel CCG 5901 had sailed into the Natuna Sea, near the Tuna Block gas field since December 30, 2022. (un)