Indonesia has deployed a warship in the North Natuna Sea to monitor Chinese coast guard vessels. The country has taken such steps to show its active position in this important sea route. Because this region is claimed by both China and Indonesia.
The country’s naval chief said this on Saturday, Reuters reported.
The Indonesian Ocean Justice Initiative said vessel tracking data showed that China’s vessel CCG 5901 had been sailing in the Natuna Sea, specifically near the Tuna Block gas field and Vietnam’s Chim Sao oil and gas field, since Dec. 30.
A warship, maritime patrol aircraft and drones have been deployed to monitor the vessel, Indonesian Navy Chief Laksamana Mohammad Ali told Reuters. The Chinese vessel did not conduct any suspicious activities. But we have to monitor it because it was in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for some time.’
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOSE) grants navigation rights to ships through an EEZ.
The activity comes after an EEZ agreement between Indonesia and Vietnam and Indonesia’s approval to develop a tuna gas field in the Natuna Sea, with a total investment of approximately $3 billion until production begins.
In 2021, ships from Indonesia and China had been eyeing each other for months near an underwater oil rig that was doing well in the tuna block. At that time, China urged Indonesia to stop mining, saying that these activities were taking place on their territory.
Southeast Asia’s largest country says, under UNCLOS, the southern tip of the South China Sea as its exclusive economic zone and in 2017 renamed the area the North Natuna Sea.
China rejected it. The maritime area has a boundary demarcated by a U-shaped ‘nine-dash line’ among its extensive territorial claims in the South China Sea, which the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague found no legal basis in 2016.