Indonesia declares “North Natuna Sea” – China: “Totally meaningless”

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Indonesia on July 14 renamed the northern area of its maritime economic zone in the South China Sea around the Natuna Islands as the “North Natuna Sea” in a bid to show sovereignty and as an act of resistance to China’s territorial ambitions in the region, Reuters reported.

Part of the renamed sea is claimed by China under its contentious maritime boundary, known as the ‘nine-dash line’ that encompasses most of the resource-rich sea.

Indonesia insists it’s a “non-claimant” state in the South China Sea dispute but has clashed with China over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands, detaining Chinese fishermen and expanding its military presence in the area over the past 1.5 years

Unveiling the new official map, the deputy of maritime sovereignty at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Arif Havas Oegroseno, noted the northern side of its exclusive economic zone was the site of oil and gas activity.

“We want to update the naming of the sea [and] we gave a new name in line with the usual practice: the North Natuna Sea,” he told reporters.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he didn’t know anything about the details of the issue, but said the name South China Sea had broad international recognition and clear geographic limits.

“Certain countries’ so-called renaming is totally meaningless,” he told a daily news briefing, adding that “we hope the relevant country can meet China halfway and properly maintain the present good situation in the South China Sea region, which has not come easily.”

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Indonesia on July 14 renamed the northern area of its maritime economic zone in the South China Sea around the Natuna Islands as the “North Natuna Sea” in a bid to show sovereignty and as an act of resistance to China's territorial ambitions in the region, Reuters reported. Part of the renamed sea is claimed by China under its contentious maritime boundary, known as the 'nine-dash line' that encompasses most of the resource-rich sea. Indonesia insists it's a “non-claimant” state in the South China Sea dispute but has clashed with China over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands, detaining Chinese...

Reading Time: 1 minute

Indonesia on July 14 renamed the northern area of its maritime economic zone in the South China Sea around the Natuna Islands as the “North Natuna Sea” in a bid to show sovereignty and as an act of resistance to China’s territorial ambitions in the region, Reuters reported.

Part of the renamed sea is claimed by China under its contentious maritime boundary, known as the ‘nine-dash line’ that encompasses most of the resource-rich sea.

Indonesia insists it’s a “non-claimant” state in the South China Sea dispute but has clashed with China over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands, detaining Chinese fishermen and expanding its military presence in the area over the past 1.5 years

Unveiling the new official map, the deputy of maritime sovereignty at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Arif Havas Oegroseno, noted the northern side of its exclusive economic zone was the site of oil and gas activity.

“We want to update the naming of the sea [and] we gave a new name in line with the usual practice: the North Natuna Sea,” he told reporters.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he didn’t know anything about the details of the issue, but said the name South China Sea had broad international recognition and clear geographic limits.

“Certain countries’ so-called renaming is totally meaningless,” he told a daily news briefing, adding that “we hope the relevant country can meet China halfway and properly maintain the present good situation in the South China Sea region, which has not come easily.”

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