In Letter to UN Chief, Indonesia Takes Stand on South China Sea

Sandra Loyd

Indonesia added its weight to current diplomatic relocations by ASEAN members opposing Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea, sending out an unusual diplomatic note to the head of the United Nations previously today.

The letter, sent out to U.N. Secretary- General António Guterres on Tuesday, defined the Indonesian federal government’s assistance for a 2016 judgment by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, when the court agreed the Philippines in a case that Manila brought versus China over a territorial disagreement in the sea.

“Indonesia reiterates that the Nine-Dash line map implying historic rights claim clearly lacks international legal basis and is tantamount to upsetting UNCLOS 1982,” stated the letter from Indonesia’s Permanent Objective to the United Nations, referring to a border on Chinese maps that includes Beijing’s claims in the maritime area.

“As a State Party to UNCLOS 1982, Indonesia has consistently called for the full compliance toward international law, including UNCLOS 1982. Indonesia hereby declares that it is not bound by any claims made in contravention to international law, including UNCLOS 1982,” the letter mentioned.

The letter, a copy of which was posted by an Asian reporter to Twitter, referred to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the international treaty embraced almost 40 years earlier.

On Thursday, a diplomat at Indonesia’s Permanent Objective to the United Nations in New york city referred BenarNews ask for remarks or a copy of the letter to the foreign ministry in Jakarta.

When called previously in the day, a foreign ministry representative had little to state about the letter.

“I’ll check it first,” representative Teuku Faizasyah informed BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service

In Washington, Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Openness Effort, stated Indonesia’s action broke brand-new ground.

“This note verbale is the first time that any of the Philippines’ Southeast Asian neighbors has stood up and explicitly endorsed its 2016 arbitration win against China. Officials in Jakarta have been pushing this for four years and it looks like they’ve finally won out over political fears about China,” he informed BenarNews.

“If this, or more likely the next, Philippine government ever wants to take up the cause again, Indonesian support could be an important part of building a coalition.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who took power days prior to the Permanent Court ruled in favor of his nation’s claim to the objected to waterway, has actually rather looked for closer ties with China.

The Indonesian letter is the current in a flurry of letters from ASEAN countries and China following a Malaysian submission to the U.N. in December 2019 that declared sovereignty over an extended continental rack in the South China Sea off its northern coast, possibly a location with substantial undersea resources.

“It is our sovereign right to claim whatever is there within our waters and which is not claimed by others,” stated Saifuddin Abdullah, who was Malaysia’s foreign minister at the time the letter was submitted.

The letter drew a reaction from China, which asserted sole sovereignty over the South China Sea, based not simply on its claims to land features, however likewise on the basis of “historic rights” to the waters themselves.

The Philippines and Vietnam weighed in, sending demonstrations to China’s territorial claims. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN).

The Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam are amongst countries that, together with China, have completing claims in the South ChinaSea Indonesia is not amongst the complaintant countries, however in early 2020 and in 2016, stress flared in between Jakarta and Beijing over the existence of Chinese fishing boats swarming in South China Sea waters near Indonesia’s Natuna Islands.

In 2002, the 10- country ASEAN bloc and China concurred on a Statement of Conduct, which was a declaration of concepts on how celebrations ought to act in the South ChinaSea Finishing a more detailed– and binding– Code of Conduct (CoC) has actually shown much harder.

Settlements started in earnest in 2016 with a tentative due date for approval in2021 A draft of the text of the contract has actually been launched.

Observers have actually stated that Beijing would like to end settlements early without touching controversial however fundamental areas including what it really declares in the sea area.

“China could, by forcing an early resolution to the Code of Conduct, just shut everybody up,” Carl Thayer, teacher emeritus at the University of New South Wales, informed BenarNews in April. “Sorry, we closed the door, we can’t change anything, what we occupy is China’s and you relinquish it.”

Retno Marsudi declaration

Previously this month, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi released a declaration stating her federal government was carefully list below current advancements in the sea area.

“Indonesia expresses its concerns on recent activities in the South China Sea which may potentially escalate tensions at a time where global collective efforts are vital in fighting COVID-19” she stated throughout a speech on Might 6.

“Indonesia underlines the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea including to ensure freedom of navigation and over-flight and to urge all parties to respect international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Retno added.

She likewise kept in mind that while CoC settlements had actually been postponed, all appropriate countries must show self-restraint.

“We remain committed to ensuring the conclusion of the CoC that is effective, substantive, and actionable, despite the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she stated.

Reported by BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

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