In a row of events regarding PLA-Navy incursions, Indonesia has lodged a protest with Beijing over a Chinese vessel’s intrusion into its EEZ (exclusive economic zone), which spent two days in the area.
According to reports, Indonesia’s maritime security agency Bakamla said the Chinese vessel left the EEZ shadowed by an Indonesian patrol boat at around noon on Monday ‘after arguing on the radio’.
The incident occurred off the coast of Indonesia’s North Natuna Sea near the Riau Islands when a Chinese coast guard ship was seen in the area, then contested by the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla).
“The vessel, Chinese coast guard ship 5204, was detected by Bakamla patrol ship KN Nipah 321 through an automatic identification system at around 10:00 a.m. local time on Saturday,” reported Jakarta Post.
KN Nipah is one of the Bakamla patrol ships deployed to implement Operation Cegah Tangkal, literally meaning “prevent and repel” over its western EEZ, aiming to provide a secure environment for commercial and allied shipping to operate and ensure freedom of navigation. The operation started on September 4 and shall continue till November.
The sources also told that the Chinese ship insisted that it had the right to patrol around the “nine-dash line”, an imaginary line which marks the claimed territory of the PRC in the South China Sea. The so-called line cuts through the Indonesian waters of the Natuna Islands.
“Bakamla is currently coordinating with the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister and the Foreign Ministry regarding the matter,” Bakamla reported in a written statement.
According to an interview given to This Week in Asia, the agency spokesperson Wisnu Pramandita informed that the Chinese vessel was in Indonesian territory from Saturday until 11:30 a.m. on Monday.
Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, told SCMP that “China in recent years has moved to assert its jurisdictional claims within the nine-dash line, the presence of Chinese coastguard vessels and Chinese fishing boats in waters off the Natuna Islands has increased.
It’s thus become more normal for China, though very unwelcome for Indonesia,” telling about the increased misadventures in Indonesian waters by the Chinese.