China, In­done­sia Butt Heads over Natuna Is­lands Re­nam­ing

Indonesia Expat - - News From The Archipelago -

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.

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