UPDATED AT 8:00 a.m. ET ON 1-17-2022
Indonesian officials say they’re not worried about the presence of China’s largest coast guard ship in the Natuna Sea.
Jakarta has sent naval ships and a patrol aircraft to the area to monitor the Chinese vessel’s movements but the Navy’s Chief, Adm. Muhammad Ali, said everything is “under control.”
Vietnamese analysts, however, are concerned the Chinese vessel’s presence may signal a prolonged stand-off in the newly demarcated maritime boundaries.
Last month, Vietnam and Indonesia concluded talks on the boundaries of their exclusive economic zones (EEZs), which also lie within the imaginary “nine-dash line” that Beijing uses to demarcate what it calls its “historical rights” over almost 90% of the South China Sea.
An EEZ gives a state exclusive access to the natural resources in the waters and seabed.
Hanoi and Jakarta have not disclosed details of the agreement and China has not protested officially but Beijing’s largest coast guard ship has been in the area between Vietnam and Indonesia since Dec. 30.
The CCG 5901, also the world’s largest coast guard vessel, was still in the area on Tuesday, according to ship tracker Marine Traffic.
‘There are no problems’
A spokesperson at the Chinese embassy in Jakarta told BenarNews the Chinese ship was “in sea areas that China has jurisdiction in accordance with domestic law and international laws.”
A U.N. tribunal in 2016 invalidated the “nine-dash line” but Beijing has so far rejected the ruling, insisting that China has jurisdiction over all areas within the line.
“It’s for the purpose of maritime security and