Ahead of year-end 2019, Indonesia was shocked by the entry of foreign vessels, the China Coast Guard and its fishing vessels into Natuna region. With the Nine Dash Lines principle from the outermost point of China, China considers Natuna waters as its territory.
For several times, Indonesian sea areas rich in marine products have been entered by foreign ships, especially for illegal fishing purposes. When Susi Pujiastuti was Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in the last cabinet, foreign vessels caught to steal fish in Indonesian territory were even sunk. But now it is different, China not only illegally caught sea products, but also claimed Indonesia's sea area as its own territory. Even when the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a memorandum of protest over this action, China still reasoned with its Nine Dash-Lines argument.
Now, Indonesia's diplomacy must be pursued more intensively. In addition, patrols in the Natuna Sea must also be strengthened. Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi has reminded China that China is also bound by the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea -UNCLOS 1982 which ensures the outermost points of Indonesia, complete with Exclusive Economic Zones. China's claim to Natuna waters which refers to the nine dash-lines is not based on UNCLOS 1982. China is one of the UNCLOS member countries, that is obliged to respect its implementation.
Obviously in Natuna waters, China has the courage to maneuver, because the investment promised by China to Indonesia is quite high. It is not clear exactly where the relationship is. However, the issue of the magnitude of Chinese investment in Indonesia should not be a burden for Indonesian government to deal with Chinese maneuvers in the Natuna region. The sovereignty of the Indonesian nation is the most important aspect that must be guarded and maintained.