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Natuna Conflict: DPR Says Indonesia Must Lobby Neighbors

TEMPO.CO Tue, January 21, 2020

JAKARTA, Indonesia – The House of Representatives’ Commission I suggested the government make a diplomatic breakthrough in dealing with tensions with China in Natuna waters. DPR Commission I member Dave Laksono said Indonesia might need to approach neighboring countries.

“Certainly, we must lobby neighboring countries, so that all every nation has the same voice and view on this matter, because if there is a conflict in the region, it would also be bad for other regions,” Dave said after a closed working meeting to discuss Natuna in the Parliament Complex, Jakarta, Monday January 20.

According to Dave, the government should approach ASEAN countries first, as he believes our closest neighbors would not want conflict.

Meanwhile, DPR Commission I member Fadli Zon suggested firm diplomatic approach from the Indonesian government. But the Gerindra Party politician said ASEAN might be divided in responding to this problem, as China has proxies among Southeast Asian countries.

“There are parties who are now a proxy of China, especially Cambodia and Laos,” he said.

The Indonesian exclusive economic zone’s (EEZ) sovereignty in Natuna is recognized by the UN, in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in which Indonesia and China are joined.

“We have to lobby, so everyone will respect the 1982 UNCLOS,” Dave Laksono remarked.

Met separately after the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Mahendra Siregar said the DPR supports the diplomacy measures taken by the government. Mahendra also stressed there would be no negotiation with China, as they clearly violated Indonesian sovereignty.

“Our position is clear and recognized by international law [through] UNCLOS 1982. There is no need to negotiate,” Mahendra asserted.

From: TEMPO.CO (INDONESIA) Tue, January 21, 2020

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