Indonesia

Whither the Honest Broker? Indonesia and the South China Sea

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The incursion on March 19–20, 2016, by two armed China Coast Guard ships into Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), 4.34 kilometers off the Natuna Islands, sparked tensions on a new front in the South China Sea. The incident has again raised the question of where Indonesia stands on the disputes—both as a potential party and as a leader within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The incident began when a patrol boat from the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) seized a 300-metric-ton Chinese fishing boat, the Kway Fey 10078, and arrested its eight crew members for… Read More »Whither the Honest Broker? Indonesia and the South China Sea

Traditional Fishing Grounds and China’s Historic Rights Claims in the South China Sea

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In the past four months, three confrontations have occurred between China and Indonesia over the presence of Chinese fishing vessels in waters near Indonesia’s Natuna Islands. By compelling Jakarta to adopt a more active approach to defending its waters from Chinese encroachment, these incidents may transform the dynamics of the South China Sea disputes. Equally importantly, however, statements by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) regarding these incidents provide clues about the content of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea. Specifically, China appears to be moving toward justifying some of its claims in terms of historic rights, not… Read More »Traditional Fishing Grounds and China’s Historic Rights Claims in the South China Sea