In­done­sia sinks boats to mark an­niver­sary

The Myanmar Times - - World -

IN­DONE­SIA sank dozens of im­pounded for­eign boats to mark In­de­pen­dence Day, an of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day, as Pres­i­dent Joko “Jokowi” Wi­dodo steps up a cam­paign to stop for­eign fish­er­men from “steal­ing” in its wa­ters

Since be­ing elected, Mr Jokowi has in­ten­si­fied a cam­paign to ex­er­cise In­done­sia’s mar­itime sovereignty and has sunk and blown up scores of for­eign ves­sels.

“To­day, we of­fer 60 boats” to be scut­tled in eight lo­ca­tions, said fish­eries min­istry of­fi­cial Mas Ach­mad San­tosa.

“This is a gift [for In­done­sia] and goes to show our con­sis­tency in en­forc­ing the law,” Mr Mas said.

But un­like past boat-sink­ing events, which were broad­cast on na­tional tele­vi­sion, yes­ter­day’s cer­e­mony was toned down, with of­fi­cials bar­ring me­dia cov­er­age.

Of­fi­cials have also re­fused to dis­close the ves­sels’ coun­tries of ori­gin.

Pre­vi­ously, In­done­sia has scup­pered boats from coun­tries in­clud­ing China, Viet­nam and Philip­pines, with Bei­jing par­tic­u­larly an­gered by the ges­ture.

Ten­sions be­tween Jakarta and Bei­jing have es­ca­lated in re­cent months as Chi­nese fish­ing boats have clashed with In­done­sian gov­ern­ment ves­sels, prompt­ing Mr Jokowi to visit the Natu­nas is­lands on a war­ship in June.

On Au­gust 16, he pledged to de­fend “ev­ery inch” of In­done­sia’s land and mar­itime ter­ri­tory in a state-of-then­ation ad­dress.

Un­like sev­eral of its South­east Asian neigh­bours, In­done­sia has long main­tained it has no mar­itime dis­putes with China in the South China Sea and does not con­test own­er­ship of any ter­ri­tory there. –

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