Indonesia Rename South China Ignores China’s Warning

Indonesia showed the newly assigned North Natuna Sea on Friday when it unveiled a new official map of the national archipelago. It shows current negotiations with Southeast Asian neighbors and the 2016 findings of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in the Netherlands on the dispute in the South China Sea between China and the Philippines.

Referring a decision last year of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Europe that has been disregarded by China, Indonesia has renamed its exclusive economic zone in the southwestern area of the South China Sea.

The coordinating minister for maritime affairs, Luhut Binsan Pandjaitan, told that the northern waters off Indonesia’s Natuna archipelago are also part of the country’s exclusive economic zone, and run northwards for 200 nautical miles.

Indonesia has never presented any interest in parts of the South China Sea also disputed with China, Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam, but the waters it now calls the North Natuna Sea overlap with China’s Nine-Dash Line claimed.

On Monday, Pandajaitan said to the reporters that the North Natuna Sea falls entirely within existing Indonesian waters. He also told after criticism from China that they are not changing the name of the South China Sea.

“The so-called change of name presents no sense at all and is not conducive to the effort to the international standardization of the name of places,” said Geng Shuang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman. “We hope the relevant countries can work with China for the shared goal, and jointly uphold the current hard-won sound situation in the South China Sea.”

Arif Havas Oegroseno, Pandjaitan’s deputy told there was nothing unusual about China’s declaration, and it ordered no response. He said that they would monitor the region they are claiming and they will never back down.