China, Indonesia Butt Heads over Natuna Islands Renaming
China has demanded Indonesia reverse a July change to the South China Sea waters inside of the archipelago’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), media reported over the Idul Adha long weekend.
The waters, which are a part of the South China Sea but not under dispute, have been renamed the North Natuna Sea by the Indonesian government.
An official note issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing dated August 25 was widely circulated over the the long weekend and showed the Chinese government slamming the move.
The memo said Indonesia’s decision to change the ‘internationally accepted name’ created ‘complication and expansion of the dispute, and affects peace and stability,’ according to Channel News Asia.
“The China-Indonesian relationship is developing in a healthy and stable way, and the South China Sea dispute is progressing well. Indonesia’s unilateral name- changing actions are not conducive to maintaining this excellent situation.”
“The North Natuna Sea falls within our territory, not within the South China Sea […] We have the right [to rename the waters], the North Natuna Sea is ours,” Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said in July.