A Chinese Coast Guard ship was again spotted roaming the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone in the North Natuna Sea on Saturday morning (12/9).
The Chinese ship was detected at around 10:00 West Indonesian Time (WIB) on the radar and automatic identification system of the KN Nipah-321 Maritime Security Agency ship and was immediately asked to leave Indonesian jurisdiction. Via VHF channel 16 radio, KN Nipah-321 asked about the activities of the Chinese Coast Guard ship. When communicating, they insisted that they were patrolling the nine dash line area which they said is the territory of China.
Then, KN Nipah-321 personnel explained that based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea -UNCLOS, the existence of the nine dash line was not recognized. The Chinese Coast Guard ship was in the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone area and was asked to leave immediately.
This incident is the third times since 2016. In June 2016 and early January 2020, China's Coast Guard ships had also entered the Indonesian jurisdiction while guarding the country's fishing vessels.
The North Natuna Sea is the jurisdiction of Indonesia with sovereign rights over natural resources in the water column. Foreign ships are allowed to cross, but on the condition that they do not carry out other activities that are against national and international law.
The Indonesian government has protested strongly against China regarding the presence of foreign ships in the Natuna Sea. President Joko Widodo has also issued a firm statement saying that there is no compromise on Indonesia's sovereignty. To show the seriousness of the Indonesian government in safeguarding and defending its territory, President Joko Widodo even immediately inspected the situation in Natuna by boarding the Indonesian Battleship -Imam Bonjol 383 in June 2016. Likewise, after the incident of the re-entry of Chinese ships last January, the President left for Natuna with both sea and air military power.
The Chinese government should respect what has been agreed by the international community. The Natuna Exclusive Economic Zone has a strong legal basis, namely UNCLOS 1982 and this was confirmed again by the Permanent Court of Arbitration which was revealed in the settlement of disputes between the Philippines and China.