Indonesia and China clashed on Friday in their third naval confrontation this year when an Indonesian navy vessel fired at Chinese fishing boats and injured one person, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
Indonesia said it fired warning shots at the Chinese boats for allegedly fishing illegally near the Natuna Islands, but told Reuters there were no injuries.
Although Indonesia is not locked in territorial competition with China over the South China Sea — unlike its regional neighbors in the Philippines and Vietnam — Jakarta nonetheless rejects China’s so-called nine-dash demarcation line that cuts through the water of Natuna Islands.
On Monday morning, Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti tweeted in response to the altercation: “We dont shoot for no clear reason. Protecting Sovereignity of your country is a must.”
She then added later on Monday, “The Indonesian navy is right to defend the sovereignty of our seas and resources. The shooting is according to the procedures. In the sea, we are glorious.”
China does not deny Indonesia’s jurisdiction over the Natuna Islands, but maintains they share common interests in the waters around them.
— With reporting by Yenni Kwok