Indonesia Increases Naval Patrols after Spotting Chinese Ships

Indonesian Navy has increased patrols around its Natuna islands in the South China Sea, after spotting Chinese vessels nearby on Tuesday.

Navy Western Fleet Commander Arsyad Abdullah said five navy vessels and an air patrol were deployed in North Natuna Sea to secure the area. 

“The Navy’s position on the North Natuna Sea is very firm in protecting national interests within the Indonesian jurisdiction in accordance with national law and international law that have been ratified so that there is no tolerance for any violations in the North Natuna Sea,” Arsyad added. 

On Saturday, a Chinese coastguard vessel entered Indonesia’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the northern Natuna islands but left on Monday after radio challenges over jurisdiction, Aan Kurnia, chief of the maritime security agency, Bakamla, told Reuters.

Aan said that international law permits innocent passage through the EEZ but the Chinese vessel “was lingering too long.” 

“Because this one floated, then went circling, we became suspicious, we approached it and learned that it was a Chinese coastguard vessel,” Aan added.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the ship was on “normal patrol duties in waters under Chinese jurisdiction.”

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