Indonesia protests against China ship in its waters

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Jakarta has protested against the intrusion of a Chinese coast guard ship into the Southeast Asian archipelago’s waters, Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The Chinese vessel, identified as CCG 5204, was seen Saturday in North Natuna waters, Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone near the Riau Islands province.

“Following the issue, the ministry on Sunday communicated with Chinese representative in Jakarta to request clarification,” spokesman Teuku Faizasyah told AFP on Monday.

The Indonesian maritime security agency said the ship insisted it had been patrolling China’s so-called “nine-dash line”, an area claimed by Beijing but contested by its neighbours.

“The Ministry re-emphasised to the Chinese representative that there’s no overlapping between Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone and China’s waters,” said Faizasyah.

The maritime security agency said the ship left the area on Monday.

Indonesia rejects China’s nine-dash line claim saying it contravenes the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, is trying to stop foreign vessels fishing in its waters, saying it costs the economy billions of dollars annually.

Jakarta claims the area in the southern reaches of the South China Sea as its exclusive economic zone.

In January Indonesia deployed fighter jets and warships to patrol the Natuna islands waters in a spat with Beijing after Chinese vessels, both coast guard ship and fishing boats, entered the area.

China claims most of the South China Sea despite competing claims from other Southeast Asian nations including Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia.

© Agence France-Presse