Thursday, 22 October 2020 | 05:02 WIB

Jokowi Gov’t Not Afraid of Facing Pressure from China on North Natuna Sea

Teguh Santosa, international relations observer from Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - The Government of the Republic of Indonesia is believed to be unperturbed in the face of pressure from the People's Republic of China in relation to the renaming of Indonesian marine territory in the northern waters of Natuna.

Last week, on August 25, 2017, the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia in Jakarta. In general, the government of China—through the letter—has asked Indonesia to cancel the naming of North Natuna Sea which was announced in mid-July.

According to China, Indonesia's maneuver could complicate disputes in the waters, as well as cause adverse impacts on the prospects for peace and stability of the region.

Teguh Santosa, international relations observer from Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah in Jakarta, said in a statement to the media that it is perfectly natural for China to protest because of the loss of privileges or they have had for the use of the South China Sea name.

The term South China Sea, which has been used up to the territorial waters of northern Indonesia, has benefited China in many ways. Without realizing it, there was a widespread assumption in the international community that China had influence and dominance, and even sovereignty over all territorial waters in the region.

"In fact, the territorial waters of China is only to the boundaries of its territorial sea recognized by international law. On the other hand, Indonesia also has its own territorial sea territory, and therefore has the right to give a name to the territorial sea of Indonesia, "said Teguh Santosa.

He further said that the use of the Natuna North Sea name is necessary for international legal certainty, and for the long term it is necessary to maintain the security and stability of the region.

"I have already mentioned that Indonesia's decision is an expression of Indonesia's strong commitment to fostering the security and stability of the region. So it is natural for China to protest. But this is a funny protest, "he said while asserting that the use of the Natuna North Sea name is an affirmation of the country's sovereignty and at the same time shows how Indonesia respects the sovereignty of other nations.

The lecturer of the conflict study and the East Asian region said he believed President Joko Widodo and the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs since the days of Rizal Ramli to Luhut B. Panjaitan had studied the name change very seriously.

"For Mr. Jokowi, maritime is a central issue and the main material of national development. Naming the North Natuna Sea is encouraging, and fosters the belief that governments have a solid strategy to safeguard sovereignty while developing all maritime potentials. I'm sure Mr. Jokowi will not be afraid to face China's pressure for this matter, "Teguh Santosa said.