Indonesia must take stand on S. China Sea claims
October 10 2015
Amid relentless diplomatic efforts, many seem unaware that the South China Sea dispute has entered a new phase as the Philippines, one of the claimants of the maritime territory, is seeking a legal settlement of China’s territorial claims at the Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Can the legal approach resolve the decades-long dispute and provide justice for the claimants, and can the verdict reduce tension and create security and stability in the region?
In its diplomatic note filed with the court in January 2013, the Philippines proposed five points against China’s claims in the South China Sea, which are: First, China is not entitled to exercise “historic rights” over the region; second, China’s nine-dash line has no international legal basis; third, China’s claims are related to geographical bodies that under international law do not confer Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) status; fourth, China has violated the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines; and finally, China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by damaging the regional marine environment.
China has refused to participate in the legal mechanism and named president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Thomas Mensah, as its representative, but its absence does not hinder the arbitration tribunal, which is expected to be completed in mid-2016.
Indonesia Mulls Drones in Response to China’s Maritime Flexing
October 08, 2015
Indonesia is considering using drones and submarines to strengthen its grip over the gas-rich waters around the Natuna Islands in response to China’s growing military presence in the South China Sea.
These comments by Indonesia’s security chief Luhut Panjaitan in an opinion piece Wednesday in the Kompas newspaper represent some of the most direct yet by the nation over China’s claims in the water. They highlight unease in the government even as it maintains it is not a party to regional disputes over the waters.
“Only a few people were predicting the imaginary nine-dash line raised by China since 2009 would have a strong military and political affect,” wrote Panjaitan, the coordinating minster for security, politics and law. “This is on the back of the speedy economic development which automatically has given China a large military budget. Such a massive military spending has enabled the Chinese armed forces to have a presence in the South China Sea that is worrying the United States.”