Indonesia Rejects China’s Offer For South China Sea Talks

Sandra Loyd

Indonesia on Friday declined a Chinese offer for settlements on the South China Sea, as Jakarta restated that it had no overlapping claims with Beijing in its special financial zone.

The Chinese federal government, in a letter to U.N. Secretary- General António Guterres on Tuesday, acknowledged it had no territorial disagreement with Indonesia however stated the 2 countries had overlapping claims over maritime rights in parts of the South ChinaSea

Beijing’s letter remained in action to a diplomatic note sent out by the Indonesian federal government to the U.N. chief on Might 26, in which Jakarta declined China’s Nine-Dash Line map or claim of historic rights to almost all of the objected to waterway.

“Based on UNCLOS 1982 Indonesia does not have overlapping claims with the PRC, so it is not relevant to hold any dialogue on maritime boundary delimitation,” Damos Dumoli Agusman, the director general of international law and treaties at Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, informed BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service, on Friday.

He was describing a January 2020 declaration from the ministry verifying that Indonesia had no territorial disagreement with Beijing in the South China Sea based upon the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“It was stated that we reject (any negotiation),” Damos stated.

In its letter to the U.N. today, China argued that its maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea were “established in the long course of historical practice and consistent with international law,” consisting of UNCLOS.

“There is no territorial dispute between China and Indonesia in the South China Sea. However, China and Indonesia have overlapping claims on maritime rights and interests in some parts of the South China Sea,” China’s long-term objective to the United Nations stated in the letter, a copy of which was posted on the objective’s website.

“China is willing to settle the overlapping claims through negotiation and consultation with Indonesia, and work together with Indonesia to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the letter stated.

Indonesia has actually firmly insisted that China’s claims are “unilateral” and have no legal basis in international law.

No international legal basis

In the letter sent out to Guterres recently, Indonesia 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 Beijing over a territorial disagreement in the South China Sea.

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

A representative for the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated Jakarta utilized the letter to suggest that China’s Nine-Dash Line had actually crossed limits set by Indonesia’s special financial zone (EEZ).

“We never know what China’s intentions are in establishing a Nine-Dash Line. It may have the potential to create conditions that disrupt what was determined by Indonesia from a long time ago,” ministry representative Teuku Faizasyah informed BenarNews on Might29 “Therefore, we need to inform these matters by communicating our position openly to the international community.”

The Indonesian letter was the current in a flurry of files from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN) and China following a Malaysian submission to the U.N. in December2019 The Malaysian federal government declared sovereignty over an extended continental rack in the South China Sea off its northern coast, possibly a location with considerable undersea resources.

On Thursday, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi restated her nation’s position on the concern.

“In a diplomatic memorandum sent on 26 May 2020, Indonesia reaffirmed its consistent position in responding to China’s claim to the U.N. that could affect Indonesia’s EEZ (exclusive economic zone) and also emphasize the need for full compliance with UNCLOS 1982,” Retno informed press reporters throughout a virtual interview.

‘Not an apples-to-apples thing’

On the other hand, an international maritime law scientist at the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM), I Made Andi Arsana, explained China’s offer for settlement as illogical.

“Indonesia’s claim is based on international law while China’s claim is unilateral. It’s not an apples-to-apples thing,” Arsana informed BenarNews, including that Indonesia needs to not and would not accept bilateral talks or settlements on the concern.

Hikmahanto Juwana, an international relations teacher at the University of Indonesia, stated the Chinese action followed its playbook.

“Indonesia should never allow itself to be lured into negotiating. So far, Indonesia has consistently refused and will never want to negotiate with China,” he stated.

The Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Vietnam– all ASEAN members– are amongst countries that, in addition to China and Taiwan, have contending claims in the South China Sea.

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 settled on a Statement of Conduct, which was a declaration of concepts on how celebrations need to act in the South ChinaSea Finishing a more detailed– and binding– Code of Conduct (CoC) has actually shown much harder to develop.

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

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

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