JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia remains neutral in its response to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea involving China and the US, said Indonesia Institute for Defense and Strategic Studies (LESPERSSI) analyst Beni Sukadis.
Indonesia’s stance on the sea row has relations to the recent visit of Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto to the US last week.
“I believe Indonesia remains neutral by doing the same thing which is not taking sides while continuing to take a firm stance on those who violate Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone,” Beni told Kompas.com on Tuesday, October 27.
Beni said Prabowo’s visit to the US was strongly related to the competition in the South China Sea. The US government tried to convince Indonesia to respect international maritime law in the South China Sea territory.
“Of course, Indonesia agrees that all countries must comply with international law and no one should dominate, let alone claim part of the South China Sea territory,” he said.
Indonesia, he added, would take actions when a country is proven to have violated other country's sovereignty.
“The message is clear. Anyone who violates the Indonesian sovereignty will have to deal with the Indonesian military. It means the primary weaponry defense system is very crucial at this time,” he said.
Previously, Prabowo visited the US on October 15-29 on the invitation of US Defense Minister Mark Esper. The two met at the Pentagon.
Media reported that the tension between China and the US has been rising over the past months.
The US Navy patrols which sail through the South China Sea territory continue to put a burden on bilateral relations between the two countries.
Washington says their presence in the South China Sea is part of a ‘freedom of navigation’ mission and claims that such operations protect the marine traffic.
Meanwhile, Beijing has denounced the US military presence as a provocation that threatens its territorial sovereignty. Beijing also accuses US militarization of the South China Sea.
China warned that unwanted naval activities could cause accidents. The US, however, alleged that Beijing treats the South China Sea as its ‘China’s maritime empire.’
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