Posts Tagged ‘Indonesian Navy’

South China Sea: Indonesia’s air force holds its largest military exercise

October 4, 2016

Tue Oct 4, 2016 | 4:51am EDT

Reuters

Indonesian Air Force Sukhoi fighter pilots and crew walk across the tarmac after training for an upcoming military exercise at Hang Nadim Airport, Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia October 3, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken October 3, 2016. Antara Foto/M N Kanwa/ via REUTERS
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Indonesia’s air force is holding its largest military exercise this week, near some of its islands in the South China Sea, in a show of sovereignty over the gas-rich area on the fringe of territory claimed by China, officials said on Tuesday.President Joko Widodo in June launched an unprecedented campaign to bolster fishing, oil exploration and defense facilities around the Natuna island chain after a series of face-offs between the Indonesian navy and Chinese fishing boats.

China, while not disputing Indonesia’s claims to the Natuna islands, has raised Indonesian anger by saying the two countries had “over-lapping claims” to waters near them, an area Indonesia calls the Natuna Sea.

Indonesian Air Force Sukhoi fighter jets land after training for an upcoming military exercise at Hang Nadim Airport, Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia October 3, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken October 3, 2016. Antara Foto/M N Kanwa/ via REUTERS

“We want to show our existence in the area. We have a good enough air force to act as a deterrent,” said Jemi Trisonjaya, spokesman for Indonesia’s air force.

More than 2,000 air force personnel were taking part in the two-week long exercise, which includes the deployment of Indonesia’s fleet of Russian Sukhoi and F-16 fighter jets, he said.

Other branches of the Indonesian armed forces are not taking part in exercise, which ends on Thursday.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, where about $5 trillion worth of trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

 

While Indonesia is not part of the dispute over claims in the South China Sea, it objects to China’s inclusion of waters around the Natuna Islands within its “nine-dash line”, a demarcation line used by China to show its claims in the sea.

(Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Related:

 (Reuters, July 14, 2016)

 (On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said China “nine dash line claim” in the South China Sea was not valid. The court was also highly critical of China’s environmental destruction in the South China Sea.) (See Below)
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Indonesian president aboard warship to South China Sea islands in message to Beijing — Widodo intends to hold a cabinet meeting aboard the warship

June 23, 2016

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Indonesia’s sovereignty, illegal fishing on the agenda

Reuters

World | Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:33am EDT

Indonesia’s president visited the Natuna Islands aboard a warship on Thursday, making a bold move to assert sovereignty over the area in the southern reaches of the South China Sea after Beijing stated its “over-lapping claim” on nearby waters.

President Joko Widodo’s visit along with his chief security minister and foreign minister was described by Indonesian officials as the strongest message that has been given to China over the issue.

A presidential palace statement said Widodo intended to hold a cabinet meeting aboard the warship.

“In the course of our history, we’ve never been this stern (with China). This is also to demonstrate that the president is not taking the issue lightly,” Chief Security Minister Luhut Pandjaitan told The Jakarta Post newspaper.

Beijing said on Monday that while China does not dispute Indonesia’s sovereignty over the Natuna Islands, “some waters of the South China Sea” were subject to “overlapping claims on maritime rights and interests”.

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Wednesday rejected China’s stance, saying the waters around Natuna are in Indonesian territory.

There have been a series of face-offs between Indonesian and Chinese vessels in the area but both sides have denied that the matter is a territorial or diplomatic dispute.

Widodo’s visit to the remote island chain, which lies over 340 kilometers (212 miles) off the northwest tip of Kalimantan – Indonesia’s portion of Borneo island – was also aimed at promoting infrastructure development in Indonesia’s border areas.

“We want to show that Indonesia is a big country and we have to show this physically,” Widodo said in a statement, referring to those infrastructure ambitions.

(Additional reporting by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Jokowi to visit Natuna to uphold RI’s sovereignty

By Ayomi Amindoni
The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, June 22 2016 | 07:29 pm

Doomed: Seized foreign ships moor off the northern tip of Bunguran Island in Natuna regency, Riau Islands, recently. The government is set to sink the ships, pending a court decision.(JP/Rendi A. Witular)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will visit Natuna, Riau Islands province, on Thursday to demonstrate Indonesia’s sovereignty over the waters in the outer part of the archipelago, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said on Wednesday.

The President’s visit is deemed timely following spats between the Indonesian Navy and Chinese vessels in the waters, which have been claimed by China as its traditional fishing grounds.

“Natuna belongs to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia [NKRI] and that’s final. As the head of government and the head of state, the President wants to make sure that Natuna always remains part of Indonesia,” Pramono said.

China protested to Indonesia after a Chinese fisherman was injured on the weekend when the Navy arrested a China-flagged vessel, the Han Tan Cou 19038, along with its seven crew members for allegedly poaching in Natuna waters, a part of the South China Sea that China claims falls within its nine-dash-line territory.

Indonesian warship KRI Imam Bonjol-383 fired warning shots at a Chinese fishing vessel apparently engaged in Illegal fishing in Indonesian waters near the Natuna islands. This was one in a series of encounters between China and Indonesia at sea.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Indonesia would not file a counter protest with China. She saw the action by the Navy, which arrested one of 12 foreign boats suspected of illegal fishing in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone, was correct and sufficient in handling the situation. (yan)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/06/22/jokowi-to-visit-natuna-to-uphold-ris-sovereignty.html

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© Indonesia Navy/AFP | Indonesian War Ship KRI Imam Bonjol-363 arrests a Chinese fishing boat in Natuna water on June 21, 2016 — Charged with illegal fishing

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Chinese fishing crew undergo intensive questioning in Natuna islands

“Economic matters are economic matters, and violations are violations.”

By Haeril Halim, Nurul Fitri Ramadhani and Ina Parlina

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, June 22 2016 | 09:15 am

The Navy’s Western Region Fleet Command (Koarmabar), which arrested the Chinese fishing vessel Han Tan Cou 19038 in Natuna waters over the weekend, is stepping up its investigation into the seven crew members to complete their case dossiers.

They are being investigated over allegations of illegally fishing in Indonesian territory, as the Koarmabar had seized their ship as evidence to build a strong case against the seven, comprising six men and a woman.

The Navy has denied China’s claim that one of its fishermen was injured during the incident after Koarmabar personnel shot at the Han Tan Cou 19038 to stop it after it resisted arrest, adding that the crew suffered no injuries and were securely held at the Navy base’s detention center in Sabangmawang, Natuna regency,
Riau province.

“We detained them for investigation and they are all well. You can go there yourself to see that they are all doing well [at the detention center],” Koarmabar commander Rear Admiral Achmad Taufiqoerrahman told a press briefing in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The Navy chased 12 Chinese fishing vessels in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) near Natuna late on Friday, before the Han Tan Cou 19038 was left behind by the other 11 vessels, according to the Koarmabar. It was left behind because its nets had already been cast when the Navy’s KRI Imam Bonjol arrived in the area, unlike the other vessels.

KRI Imam Bonjol personnel fired a warning shot to reprimand the Han Tan Cou 19038 but it ignored the call. Consequently, in what the Navy called a “dangerous” maneuver, it shot at the vessel’s front side in attempt to halt it.


A member of the Indonesian navy standing before the Chinese trawler Hua Li-8 in Belawan, North Sumatra, on April 23, 2016. Hua Li-8 was detained on a charge of illegal fishing. PHOTO: AFP

When KRI Imam Bonjol was towing the Han Tan Cou 19038 to Natuna Islands, two Chinese coast guard ships approached the KRI Imam Bonjol and demanded the Han Tan Cou 19038’s release. The Navy ignored the request and brought the vessel to Natuna.

Satuday’s incident was the third such case in the past two months. Previous arrests also saw the involvement of the Chinese coast guard protecting other compatriot fishing vessels.

Chinese vessels continue to fish in Indonesia’s EEZ because the Chinese claim that the waters are part of its traditional fishing areas. This claim is not recognized by international law, yet the Chinese coast guard has been maintaining its presence in Indonesia’s EEZ.

Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo said that it would let the Foreign Ministry coordinate with the Chinese government and inform them of the Chinese coast guard’s frequent involvement with Navy patrolling activities in Natuna waters.

Gatot said that the result of the ongoing investigation would later determine whether the Han Tan Cou 19038 would be sunk as part of a government policy to deter foreign vessels from illegally fishing in its waters.

Earlier, the government had dispatched five Navy warships as well as a CR 212 aircraft to Natuna in order to secure the area from illegal poachers. On Monday, the government established a team of international law experts to find a peaceful solution to its recurring standoff with China in Natuna.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said Indonesia’s firm stance to arrest Chinese vessels would not hurt the economic partnership between the two countries.

“Economic matters are economic matters, and violations are violations. That’s why we want to solve the problem peacefully without much noise,” Luhut said.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/06/22/chinese-fishing-crew-undergo-intensive-questioning-natuna-islands.html

Related:

Above Chinese chart shows Chin’a “Nine Dash Line.” China says it owns all ocean territory north of the Nine Dash Line. There is no international legal precedent for this claim.

The chart below shows in stark terms the vast ocean area China is claiming. China says it can stop shipping or air traffic in this zone any time it wants and has talked about establishing an Air Defense identification Zone (ADIZ) here.

Lawless Seas: China using fishing fleets to expand maritime claims: US official

June 22, 2016

AFP

© Indonesia Navy/AFP | Indonesian War Ship KRI Imam Bonjol-363 arrests a Chinese fishing boat in Natuna water on June 21, 2016

MANILA (AFP) – China is using its fishing fleets with armed escorts to bolster maritime claims in disputed territory, a senior US State Department official warned Wednesday, calling China’s behaviour “disturbing”.

The comments came after Indonesian warships fired warning shots and detained a Chinese-flagged fishing boat and seven crew near the Natuna Islands in the South China Sea last week, in actions slammed by Beijing.

Related:


A member of the Indonesian navy standing before the Chinese trawler Hua Li-8 in Belawan, North Sumatra, on April 23, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

“I think it’s a disturbing trend to see Chinese fishing vessels accompanied by coast guard vessels, used in a way that appears to be an attempt to exert a claim that may not be legitimate,” said the US official via conference call to journalists in Southeast Asia.

“I do think that it does point to an expanding presence of Chinese — sort of military and paramilitary forces — and used in a way that is provocative and potentially destabilising,” the US official, who asked not to be named, added.

Unlike several other countries in the region, Indonesia has no overlapping claims with China to islets or reefs in the sea, but Beijing’s claim to fishing rights near the Natunas appears to overlap with Jakarta’s exclusive economic zone.

Last week’s incident was only the latest in a series of skirmishes between the two countries since Jakarta launched a crackdown on illegal fishing in 2014.

In March Chinese coastguards rammed a Chinese boat detained near the Natunas and helped it escape as the Indonesians towed the vessel to shore.

 Protesters opposing Beijing’s South China Sea claims gather in front of the Chinese Consulate in Makati City, Manila, on June 10. Photo: Reuters

And last month, the Indonesian navy opened fire on a Chinese trawler near the islands and seized the vessel.

Following last week’s confrontation, the commander of the Indonesian navy’s western fleet said the fishing vessel incursions were “structured”, indicating Beijing had “given its blessing”.

Chinese fishing vessel Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186 detained in South Africa May 14, 2016

“China protested because it thinks this area is theirs,” commander Achmad Taufiqoerrochman told reporters.

“Actually the (fish) stealing is just a ruse to stake its claim,” he said.

China has undertaken land-reclamation works in the Spratly Islands, one of the South China Sea’s main archipelagoes which are also claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan.

The US State Department official said Washington hoped a pending ruling by a United Nations-backed tribunal on South China Sea maritime entitlements will push rival claimants into talks.

The case was lodged by the Philippines against China in 2013 to challenge Beijing’s “nine-dash line” map through which it claims to control nearly all of the strategic and reputedly resources-rich waters.

“It is in China’s interest not to take any action that would be provocative and directly in contradiction to the ruling,” the US official said.

Related:

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Fishermen around the world have grown exhausted chasing illegal Chinese fishermen.
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A patrol aircraft from Argentina made a positive identification of the ship and warned the crew


Chinese ship sinks near Argentina

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Every man woman and child in China is expected to participate in some useful way in the “Chinese Dream.” Chinese people are are now tourists is just about every part of the world — including the Arctic. China’s economic boom years which are now mush slower and measured, created a huge Middle Class. At the same time, the American middle class has been shrinking while the nation spends more and more on social spending. To many Chinese, China is rising — America and Europe are in decline. Thus, the Chinese are taught that all “Western Values” are bad — which fuels the war against churches, minority groups, Uighurs, Muslims, Tibetans, NGOs and etc.
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Most Westerners don’t appreciate the Chinese way of doing things. “Wise man who lives with tiger better not to sleep too deeply.”
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Part of China’s “Gaining Ownership By Intimidation” — A Chinese Coast Guard vessel rams a Vietnamese law enforcement ship

This photo taken on June 23, 2014 and released by Vietnam’s maritime police allegedly shows a Chinese boat (L) ramming a Vietnamese vessel (R) in contested waters near a Chinese deep sea drilling rig in the South China Sea, June 24, 2014.
AFP

Vietnamese fishermen swim for their lives after being rammed and sunk by a Chinese Coast Guard ship near Vietnam.

Above Chinese chart shows Chin’a “Nine Dash Line.” China says it owns all ocean territory north of the Nine Dash Line. There is no international legal precedent for this claim.

The chart below shows in stark terms the vast ocean area China is claiming. China says it can stop shipping or air traffic in this zone any time it wants and has talked about establishing an Air Defense identification Zone (ADIZ) here.

Indonesia defends navy for firing warning shots at Chinese poachers in South China Sea

June 20, 2016

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A member of the Indonesian navy standing before the Chinese trawler Hua Li-8 in Belawan, North Sumatra, on April 23, 2016.PHOTO: AFP
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Francis Chan Wahyudi, Indonesia Bureau Chief and Soeriaatmadja, Indonesia Correspondent
The Straits Times

JAKARTA – Indonesia has defended its navy for firing over the bow of Chinese fishing boats caught poaching in its waters off the Natuna islands in the South China Sea on Friday (June 17).

Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan said Monday (June 20) he has been briefed about the incident and confirmed that the shooting at sea was in accordance to the rules of engagement.

His comments comes after China registered its “strong protest” on Sunday to Indonesia over the detention of a Chinese fishing boat and its crew of seven as well as the warning shots fired by the Indonesian warship KRI Imam Bonjol which apparently wounded a Chinese fisherman from another vessel.

Mr Luhut said there was no need for Indonesia to respond to the protest from China. “What is important is that we find a solution (to resolve the issue) amicably, we want to maintain good relations with China, but without sacrificing our sovereignty.”

The navy had detected radio chatter among 12 Chinese vessels fishing illegally in Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on Friday but its warships only managed to intecept the China-flagged Yueyandong Yu 19038 after shots were fired across the fishing boat’s bow.

An EEZ is a zone extending 200 nautical miles from shore over which a state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The EEZ of a handful of littoral states in the South China Sea – Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei – overlap with China’s nine-dash line, feeding into the territorial disputes between the Asian powerhouse, Taiwan and several nations in South-east Asia.

Indonesia, however, was never a party to the dispute, but it was recently dragged into a similar territorial fracas with China, after Beijing said in March that the waters in Indonesia’s EEZ are part of its “traditional fishing grounds”.

Mr Luhut said Jakarta has never acknowledged Beijing’s claim of the traditional fishing grounds within Indonesia’s waters but he hopes to “continue discussing with international maritime law experts to find an elegant way of resolving” the issue.

“Actually there is no reason for Indonesia to have issues with China because Indonesia is in a position that is clear in terms of the rules and the EEZ, everything is clear,” he added.

Separately, Indonesia’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said in a series of tweets on Monday that the Indonesian warship was right in safeguarding the sovereignty of its waters.

“We don’t shoot for no clear reason,” tweeted Ms Susi. “Protecting (the) sovereignty of your country is a must.”

She also said that “the theft of fishes cannot be good for the relationships of two countries”.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla told Reuters that Indonesia would send a message to Beijing demanding that it respect his country’s sovereignty over waters around the Natuna Islands.

The last incident in the Natunas on Friday was at least the third where the Indonesian Navy has intercepted and detained a Chinese vessel and its crew for fishing illegally in Indonesia’s waters in the South China Sea, said Colonel Arif Badruddin, commander of Ranai Naval Base in Riau Islands province.

According to Col Arif, two Chinese Coast Guard vessels with registration numbers 3303 and 2501 also tried to intervene in the arrest of the Yueyandong Yu at sea but were unsuccessful because three other Indonesian warships arrived to back the KRI Imam Bonjol.

“This is the third incident where Chinese Coast Guard boats have tried to intervene in our arrests,” he said, adding that the Yueyandong Yu and its crew, one of whom is a woman, are now at Ranai Naval Base for further investigations.

Last month, the navy detained a China-flagged vessel, Gui Bei Yu 27088, and eight Chinese crew members suspected of fishing illegally in the Natuna Sea – also after having to fire warning shots.

Similarly in March, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel intervened and freed the Chinese fishing boat, KM Kway Fey, after it was held by an Indonesian patrol.

Jakarta later summoned the Chinese envoy to explain its coast guard’s actions.

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/indonesia-defends-navy-for-firing-warning-shots-at-chinese-poachers-in-south-china-sea

Related:

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South China Sea: Indonesian Warship Fires on Chinese Fishermen — Beijing Protests — One Man Injured — Chinese Boat Detained

June 20, 2016

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Chinese vessel seized; China says a crew member was injured
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Indonesian warship KRI Imam Bonjol-383

By JAMES T. AREDDY
The Wall Street Journal
Updated June 20, 2016 1:49 a.m. ET
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SHANGHAI—An Indonesian navy vessel fired at foreign fishing trawlers in a confrontation in the South China Sea that resulted in the seizing of a Chinese ship and, Beijing said, injury to one fisherman.

An Indonesian warship on Friday fired warning shots after spotting 12 foreign vessels fishing in waters Indonesia claims as an exclusive economic zone, the Indonesian navy said Saturday. The navy caught one vessel that it identified as a Chinese flagged boat plus its crew of six men and a woman.

China’s Foreign Ministry, in a statement Sunday, decried “harassment” of Chinese fishing boats by Indonesian navy vessels and said the shots damaged one vessel and injured a crew member. It said a Chinese maritime-law-enforcement vessel was dispatched to the scene and that the injured man is now being treated on the Chinese island of Hainan.

Beijing said it lodged a protest with Indonesia over the incident in the southern South China Sea in waters around the Natuna Islands that it claims are its traditional fishing grounds and which it says overlap Indonesian claims.

The incident comes as Asian nations await the outcome of a United Nations-backed arbitration court in the Netherlands over a complaint from the Philippines against China’s sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea. The ruling is expected in coming weeks.

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Indonesia isn’t a claimant to seas within a nine-dash line that China says demarcates its maritime claims in the South China Sea. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has stepped up defense of waters Indonesia does claim in a bid to expand the country’s maritime presence with stronger patrols and in response to what he says is $20 billion of lost revenue annually from illegal fishing.

It has seized and then sunk foreign vessels and at least twice in recent months detained small numbers of Chinese fisherman it accuses of violating its territory. In a standoff in March, China’s coast guard prevented Indonesian authorities from detaining a Chinese fishing vessel.

Write to James T. Areddy at james.areddy@wsj.com

http://www.wsj.com/articles/indonesian-warship-fires-on-foreign-fishing-boats-in-south-china-sea-1466350384

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Containers wait at the Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT) at Tanjung Priok Port in North Jakarta. The Indonesian and Chinese governments have committed to improving trade in the wake of recent decline. China has a lot of investments in Indonesia. (Tempo/Tony Hartawan) 

From The Jakarta Post:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/06/18/navy-apprehends-chinese-flagged-vessel-stealing-fish-in-indonesian-waters.html

China claims the entire sea north of the “nine dash line” shown on this Chinese government depiction.

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A member of the Indonesian navy monitors the Chinese trawler Hua Li-8 in Belawan, North Sumatra, in April 2016. Photo: AFP
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© AFP | Indonesian navy hold crew members of the Chinese trawler “Hua Li-8” in Belawan, North Sumatra on April 23, 2016

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Indonesian navy fires on Chinese fishing boat in disputed waters

BBC News

Picture of Natuna fishermen

Most of the people living on Natuna are fishermen and farmers

China has accused the Indonesian navy of opening fire on a Chinese fishing boat in disputed fishing grounds.

China’s foreign ministry said on Sunday that one fisherman was injured and several detained.

The incident happened on Friday near the Natuna islands, off the coast of Borneo in the South China Sea.

The Indonesian navy said earlier it had fired shots at several boats with Chinese flags, but said there had been no injuries.

It is unclear whether the fishermen are still being detained by Indonesian authorities.

China claims most of the South China Sea, where it is building islands and extending its infrastructure, and there are often flare-ups with regional neighbours with competing claims.

Unlike other South East Asian countries, Indonesia is not involved in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

China accepts the Natuna islands and the seas around them belong to Indonesia, but the two sides have confronted one another there before, typically over illegal fishing.

Map

Friday’s incident was the third altercation between Indonesian and China in waters near Natuna this year.

“China strongly protests and condemns such excessive use of force,” said ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying in a statement on Sunday according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The incident happened in “traditional Chinese fishing ground”, the statement said.

In March, Indonesia lodged an official protest after an Indonesian patrol ship tried to detain a Chinese fishing boat in the Natuna Sea, but was prevented from doing so by the Chinese coastguard.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36573291

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Chinese fishing vessel Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186 detained in South Africa during the second week in May, 2016

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Lawless Seas: More Chinese Fishermen Arrested by the Philippines, Indonesia (Smaller Nations Tired of Being Pushed Around)

May 30, 2016
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World | Fri May 27, 2016 6:02am EDT

Reuters

Two Philippine coast guard vessels intercepted a Chinese fishing boat with 10 crew off northeastern Luzon after a two-hour chase, two local broadcasters said on Friday, accusing them encroaching into Philippine territorial waters.

It was the latest in a series of similar clashes, with each side saying the other is in the wrong.

China and the Philippines are locked in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway where $5 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Chinese fishing vessel Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186 detained in South Africa during the second week in may, 2016

Lieutenant Jeffrey Collado told broadcasters ABS-CBN and GMA the steel-hulled Chinese fishing boat, flying a Philippine flag, tried to escape after ramming the Coast Guard boat but another vessel arrived to help stop the Chinese boat.

“The Chinese fishing boat was in Philippine territorial waters, they are not in disputed seas,” he said, adding the 10 fishermen would be charged with illegal fishing.

Tension between the Philippines and China has risen as an international tribunal in the Hague prepares to deliver a ruling in the next few months in a case lodged by Manila in 2013.

The Philippines is seeking a clarification of United Nations maritime laws that could undermine China’s claims to 90 percent of the South China Sea. China has rejected the court’s authority.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Indonesia detains Chinese fishing trawler in Natuna

The Indonesian navy has detained a Chinese vessel and eight Chinese crew members suspected of fishing illegally in the Natuna Sea, the latest arrest after an incident in March raised diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

An Indonesian warship was conducting patrols last Friday when it detected the Chinese trawler, Gui Bei Yu 27088, fishing illegally in the country’s “exclusive economic zone”, the navy’s Western Fleet Command spokesman, Major Budi Amin, told The Straits Times yesterday.

“We strongly suspect they were poaching fish in our territory because we found fresh fish on the boat,” he said, adding that the type of fish caught is identical to those found in the waters there.

 

“The boat engine was faulty so we had to tow the boat to a port in Natuna. We also arrested eight Chinese crew to question their activities,” he said. Investigations are ongoing, he added.

An exclusive economic zone, or EEZ, is a sea zone over which a state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, as prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The Indonesian military said in a statement that last Friday’s arrest was a “success in following up the orders of military chief General Gatot Nurmantyo in increasing surveillance at all borders, including the South China Sea”.

The arrest also served to “warn the world” that Indonesia would take “firm action” against vessels that breach its laws, it added.

On April 22, the Indonesian navy detained another Chinese trawler, Hua Li 8, in Belawan in North Sumatra province. The boat was wanted by Interpol in Argentina for poaching illegally in its waters.

Earlier, on March 19, the Indonesian maritime authorities nabbed eight Chinese fishermen from a vessel off Natuna Islands which was said to be poaching in its exclusive economic zone off West Kalimantan.

But a Chinese coast guard vessel intercepted the Indonesian operation and managed to free the vessel, sparking a diplomatic spat between the two countries.

Besides territorial claims, disputes over contested fishing grounds have also heightened tensions in the South China Sea.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2016, with the headline ‘Indonesia detains Chinese fishing trawler in Natuna’.
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China’s national strategy is to re-create the wealth and trading excellence of past Chinese Emperors. China views the ocean passages from China, through the South China Sea and into the Indian Ocean and the oil rich Middle east as a necessary re-birth of the “Silk Road” of centuries long ago. Xi Jinping’s “One Road, One Belt” is the reason for lavish infrastructure investments in Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan,  Sri Lanka and elsewhere. There is even a plan to build a new seaport in the Bay of Bengal. This is not a pipe-dream but a rational national endeavor meant to restore China to greatness and world leadership. Most Chinese are afraid to speak candidly about the plan — for fear of the their Chinese Communist enforcers. But it is clear: this is a very real effort and the U.S. is in the way and, from China’s perspective, has no reason to be interested. To China, the U.S. is a decadent and dying former super-power.
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Some liken Xi Jinping’s “China Dream,” Maritime Silk Road and “One belt, One Road” to “Manifest Destiny in the U.S. and Adolph Hitler’s Lebensraum or “Living Space.”
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Every man woman and child in China is expected to participate in some useful way in the “Chinese Dream.” Chinese people are are now tourists is just about every part of the world — including the Arctic. China’s economic boom years which are now mush slower and measured, created a huge Middle Class. At the same time, the American middle class has been shrinking while the nation spends more and more on social spending. To many Chinese, China is rising — America and Europe are in decline. Thus, the Chinese are taught that all “Western Values” are bad — which fuels the war against churches, minority groups, Uighurs, Muslims, Tibetans, NGOs and etc.
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Most Westerners don’t appreciate the Chinese way of doing things. “Wise man who lives with tiger better not to sleep too deeply.”
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Part of China’s “Gaining Ownership By Intimidation” — A Chinese Coast Guard vessel rams a Vietnamese law enforcement ship

This photo taken on June 23, 2014 and released by Vietnam’s maritime police allegedly shows a Chinese boat (L) ramming a Vietnamese vessel (R) in contested waters near a Chinese deep sea drilling rig in the South China Sea, June 24, 2014.
AFP

Vietnamese fishermen swim for their lives after being rammed and sunk by a Chinese Coast Guard ship near Vietnam.

A Vietnamese coast guard ship approaches a Thai boat as the latter is selling diesel to a Vietnamese fishing boat on March 18, 2016. Photo: Thanh Hai
A Vietnamese coast guard ship approaches a Thai boat as the latter is selling diesel to a Vietnamese fishing boat on March 18, 2016. Photo: Thanh Hai

Indonesia burns a Vietnamese fishing boat accused of illegal fishing on August 17, 2015. China has invested heavily in Indonesian infrastructure projects like rail lines. We have never heard of Indonesia setting fire to or blowing up Chinese vessels accused of illegal fishing. They just hold them for a few days and then let them go.

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In this Nov 22, 2015 image, Kyaw Naing, a slave from Myanmar, talks to a security guard through the bars of a cell at the compound of a fishing company in Benjina, Indonesia. (AP photo)

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Fishing boats set sail from Tongling port in Dongshan County, China
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Vietnamese fishermen swim for their lives after their ship was rammed and sunk by a Chinese ship — inside Vietnamese waters
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Filipino fishermen wave from a fishing boat bound to fish near Scarborough Shoal in Masinloc, Zambales. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

When intimidation, fear and coercion don’t work, China will try seduction.

China is starting submarine patrols of subs carrying Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) with nuclear warheads in the Pacific Ocean for the first time this month.

The big picture look at the South China Sea

Above Chinese chart shows Chin’a “Nine Dash Line.” China says it owns all ocean territory north of the Nine Dash Line. There is no international legal precedent for this claim.

The chart below shows in stark terms the vast ocean area China is claiming. China says it can stop shipping or air traffic in this zone any time it wants and has talked about establishing an Air Defense identification Zone (ADIZ) here.

Indonesia Detains Interpol`s Fugitive China Vessel Wanted in Argentina

April 25, 2016

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China-owned fishing vessel Hua Li 8

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force (Satgas 115) will assign a team to investigate Chinese-operated vessel Hua Li 8, detained at Indonesian Navy Base Lantarmal I Belawan, South Sumatra.

“We will gather evidences to conduct legal processes against the vessel,” Satgas 115 member Mas Achmad Santosa said on Sunday, April 24, 2016.

Two Navy’s warships intercepted the fishing boat, which has a weight of 1,275 gross tons, in Lhokseumawe waters, Aceh, after receiving an alert from the Interpol that the Chinese boat would enter Indonesian waters.

Interpol had been hunting down the vessel based on a report from Argentina. Achmad said that the boat had been poaching fishes in Argentinean exclusive economic zone in February 2016.

Achmad explained that the Indonesian government had the authority to search and capture Hua Li 8 vessel.

“The Argentinean federal court has provided the Indonesian government with an authority to search and capture the vessel,” Achmad clarified.

Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, who also serves as the Satgas 115 commander, received the letter signed by Argentinean judge Javier Leal de Ibarra, requesting the Indonesian government to treat the crew well. Achmad said that although the vessel did not violate Indonesian law, the government had the right to detain and search the vessel.

© AFP | Indonesian navy hold crew members of the Chinese trawler “Hua Li-8” in Belawan, North Sumatra on April 23, 2016

“Of course, if our national law is violated, we have the right to conduct legal processes against the vessel,” Achmad added.

http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2016/04/24/055765438/Indonesia-Detain-Interpols-Fugitive-China-Vessel

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 (Contains links to several related articles)

Indonesia: Illegal fishing in Natuna and the South China Sea dispute

April 17, 2016

By Devina Heriyanto

TheJakartaPost.com

Strong protest: Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi says the Indonesian government has conveyed a note of protest to the Chinese government over the recent move of China-flagged fishing vessel MV Kwang Fey 10078 and a Chinese coast guard vessel, which entered into Indonesian waters in Natuna, Riau Islands. (Kompas.com/Sabrina Asril)

Indonesia captured a Chinese fishing vessel for fishing illegally within the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone near Natuna Island last week. This incident did not only raise tensions in the area but also lead the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi to summon the Chinese Ambassador for Indonesia.

 

What happened in Natuna?

An Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry patrol ship intercepted the Chinese fishing vessel on Saturday off the Natuna islands. The area is within the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone, meaning that only Indonesian citizens have the rights to exploit the riches of the area. The Chinese vessel was captured for fishing illegally within the area.

However, the situation is complicated since China views the location as its rightful territory based on historical reasons, meaning that in the Chinese perspective, the vessel should not have been captured at all. That is why when the Chinese vessel was towed by Indonesian patrol vessel, a nearby Chinese coast guard intervened and prevented the detainment by Indonesian authorities.

The Indonesian authorities released the Chinese vessel but detained its crew.

 

Does it count as a territorial dispute?

It’s complicated. A territorial dispute means that there are two countries with overlapping claims over one area, land or sea, in which each country tries to negate or contest the claim of the other.

In this case, China does not contest that Natuna rightfully belongs to Indonesia. However, China argues that it still has rights to fish in the area.

A spokeswoman from the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated that, “The sovereignty of Natuna belongs to Indonesia. China has no objections to this.” However, China refused the accusation that the vessel was fishing illegally since the fishermen was operating in ‘traditional Chinese fishing grounds’.
Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, has commented that if China recognizes that Natuna belongs to Indonesia,  “China can’t lay a historical claim to that very same area.”

Responding to China’s ‘traditional Chinese fishing grounds’ argument, Edy Yusuf, the Foreign Ministry’s director for East Asia and the Pacific region, stated that traditional fishing rights must be agreed on by a treaty over a particular area, based on UNCLOS. Indonesia and China do not have such a treaty.

Rizal Sukma, the Indonesian ambassador to the UK and prominent International Relations expert, stated that Indonesia has to treat the incident as a fishing dispute instead of a territorial dispute, in order to maintain bilateral relations with China and also regional stability in Southeast Asia.

Natuna is located on the Southern edge of South China Sea, 80% of which is historically claimed by China based. China’s historical claim over the South China Sea is challenged by several countries with overlapping claims.

 

What is happening in the South China Sea?

A heated territorial dispute involving the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan (Republic of China), and several ASEAN member states.

South China Sea is a large body of water separating mainland Asia and archipelagic countries like Philippines and Indonesia. It has strategic importance as the second busiest sea trade route, an abundance natural resources particularly oil, and contains one third of the entire world’s marine biodiversity.

Indonesia rejects China’s nine-dash-line since the claim is based on historical grounds, which is not recognized under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

Recent developments on the South China Sea dispute can be found here.

 

Is Indonesia involved in the South China Sea dispute?

The nine-dash-line representing China’s claim over the South China Sea actually overlaps with a small part of Indonesian waters north of Natuna Island, which is a part of Indonesian Economic Exclusive Zone. However, Indonesia maintains its position as a ‘non-claimant’ in the dispute.  Although to some extent, China’s claim in the South China Sea will impact Indonesian sovereignty on the overlapping zone.

Even after the latest illegal fishing dispute, rooted in the differences of perspective between Indonesia and China regarding the use of water near Natuna, Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla still stated that, “Indonesia is not a claimant in the South China Sea territorial disputes.”

Indonesia and China both maintain civility regarding the overlapping claim. However, should there be more Chinese activity in the Indonesian EEZ near Natuna, another conflict like this one will likely happen.

 

What has Indonesia done so far in response to the dispute?

Indonesia has taken the lead in the diplomacy between ASEAN member states who are involved in the dispute and China. Given that Indonesia does not have any claim in the South China Sea, Indonesia acts as an “honest broker.”

Since Indonesia does have interests in the issue near Natuna, albeit small in the context, its role as an “honest broker” could be affected.

 

What Indonesia will do?

Indonesia’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister has expressed the possibility to take the case to the Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, which differs from the action taken by the Philippines using the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

However, the Foreign Affairs Ministry still has not expressed approval. Commenting on Minister Susi’s plan to take the case to the Tribunal, a spokesman from the ministry stated that, “Not every problem should be resolved with overreaction.”

In a meeting with President Joko Widodo, a group of experts warned the President that taking the case to international court will harm bilateral ties with China. Moreover, the Indonesian patrol vessel involved is not listed with the International Maritime Organization as a government vessel. The status of the vessel will weaken Indonesian position in the legal battle.

In the meantime, security within Indonesian territory will be strengthened. Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said that better-equipped patrol boats and other defense systems will be deployed.

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry also announced the deployment of bigger ships more capable to counter foreign illegal vessels. Since Jokowi’s administration, Indonesia has been more attentive to secure its territory from foreign fishing boats illegally fishing in its waters. A decree was signed to establish a special anti-illegal fishing unit under Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry.

The Indonesian Navy’s Aviation Center and the US Navy held a joint sea surveillance exercise in the Malacca Strait and around Natuna Island on April 7-10. The Navy Aviation Center commander, First Commodore Sigit Setiyanta, stated the drill was routine since 2012 and not related to the South China Sea dispute.

Rp 1 trillion (US$76 million) was allocated by the Indonesian government this year to build education, healthcare and transportation facilities in Riau Islands, besides strengthening military installations facing the South China Sea. Riau Islands Border Management Agency head Edy Sofyan stated that the fund was for “escalating issues regarding the South China Sea”. 13 out of 17 border districts in the Riau Islands are located in Natuna and Anambas regencies, bordering the South China Sea. (dan)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2016/04/15/qa-illegal-fishing-in-natuna-and-the-south-china-sea-dispute.html

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China’s coast guard protects its biggest relocatable oil rig near Vietnam

A Chinese Coast Guard ship rams a smaller Vietnamese boat in the South China Sea

China Coast Guard 3901, with a displacement of 12,000 tons, is armed with one 76-millimeter naval cannon, two close-range defense guns and two anti-aircraft guns. This is a new, heavier and well armed Chinese coast guard ship that has recently entered service.  China daily photo

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Vietnamese fishermen swim for their lives after their ship was rammed and sunk by a Chinese ship — inside Vietnamese waters
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Filipino fishermen wave from a fishing boat bound to fish near Scarborough Shoal in Masinloc, Zambales May 10, 2012. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
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A Chinese coast guard vessel near Malaysia. Photographer Rahman Roslan, Getty Images

China’s South China Sea fishing fleet is seen just before the fishing season. China News photo

A patrol aircraft from Argentina made a positive identification of the ship and warned the crew


Chinese ship sinks near Argentina

Indonesia Punishes Illegal Fishermen By Blowing Up Their Boats — Vietnamese, Filipinos, Malaysians Weeping

January 1, 2016

The Indonesian Navy proved they mean business as they were filmed blowing up illegal fishing boats in bid to drive out poachers

Dramatic footage has emerged of the Indonesian Navy taking radical action to remove illegal poachers from their heavily-guarded waters.

The Government has launched a major crackdown after it was claimed poachers cost the country £14bn in illegal fishing each year.

In this footage, the Navy is thought to use one of its fleet of Clurit class fast attack craft armed with anti-ship missiles, to literally blow the fishing boats out of the water.

On Thursday the Navy began a simultaneous assault blasting ten foreign boats which were depleting fish stocks without a license.

Indonesian authorities destroy illegal fishing boats

Serene: the waters look calm before the Indonesian authorities creep up

READ MORE: Forth Road Bridge workers ‘filmed illegally pouring hundreds of tons of concrete into river’

The boats which had been in the archipelago’s massive body of water were obliterated one by one after the Government launched a major offensive.

Boats which are believed to have travelled from the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam – are all believed to have been carrying many tons of fish – were hit and exploded into the water.

Indonesian authorities destroy illegal fishing boats

Boom: the Indonesian authorities destroy illegal fishing boats in one fell swoop

The Navy has been patrolling the waters of North Sulawesi, Tarakan, North Kalimantan, Belawan, North Sumatra and in Ranai, Riau.

First Admiral M. Zainudin of the Indonesian Navy said the armed forced had the mandate of the Government to act to prevent fishermen from stealing fish illegally.

He said: “We will continue to take firm actions against boats caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters as per the president’s instructions.”

This latest strategy was driven by the country’s President Joko Widodo who, since assuming office in October 2014, has had a zero tolerance policy on illegal fishing.

READ MORE: Fisherman get more than they bargain for as they hook huge SHARK

Indonesian authorities destroy illegal fishing boats

Pollution: the debris is scattered into the water after the boats are obliterated

He has mandated authorities to seek and destroy the boats, including a major operation which saw the sinking of 34 vessels in August.

President Widodo said: “Every day there there are around 5,400 foreign boats in our ocean and our sea.

“And 90% of them are illegal.

“So to give shock therapy to them, of course we are sinking them.”

It is not known if any of the fishermen were present on the boats at the time.

Includes videos:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/indonesian-navy-blows-up-illegal-7102963

Related:

Indonesia burns a Vietnamese fishing boat on August 17, 2015

Indonesian navy scuttles foreign fishing vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters

Indonesian Government Sinks Vietnamese Fishing Boat 1

Indonesia Looking To Russia For New Submarines

September 29, 2015

Posted By: Posted date: September 29, 2015

In late September, Indonesia signaled its intent to purchase two submarines from Russia to bolster its current fleet. Indonesia’s geography and threats emanating from piracy to hostilities arising in the South China Sea necessitate a large, well-equipped navy. The planned acquisition comes as defense budget cuts are planned in light of the current economic slowdown. Regardless, it is evident that Jakarta sees the need for more submarines as regional threats including China grow more capable.

Russia Submarine Indonesia

Purchase

This planned purchase was announced Monday, September 21st as part of the Indonesian Navy’s 2015-2019 strategic planning. Following a closed door meeting with deputies of the national parliament, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu named Russia as the expected supplier of new submarines. Saying that such a purchase has been endorsed by President Widodo, Ryacudu touted the advantages held by Russian submarines over those from other possible sources and alluded to a possible acquisition of as many as five. Commenting to The Jakarta Post, Indonesian Navy spokesperson Commander Muhammad Zainuddin said “There are many kinds of Kilo-class submarines, we have yet to decide which type we will purchase.”

Russia’s Kilo-class submarines have been popular in the export market; in the region they are operated by Vietnam (four delivered plus two to be built), China (12), and India (nine plus one inactive). Currently two versions are produced, the Type 877EKM and the much improved Type 636. Considered to be one of the quietest diesel submarines in the world, the Kilo is designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-ship warfare (ASuW) operations in shallow waters.

The announcement of this intended acquisition comes despite Jakarta’s decision to slash its 2016 defense budget by 6.3 percent to Rp 95.8 trillion; an amount equal to Rp 7 trillion (US$490 million). This cutback is in response to Indonesia’s current economic slowdown which saw 4.67 percent growth in the second quarter this year; the slowest growth in six years. While the government is rationalizing the cut in the context of its ongoing plan to revamp the country’s ageing weapons systems, some have voiced concern. Several lawmakers believe the cutback which amounts to a minor reduction in total government spending will adversely impact the defense plan of achieving minimum essential force (MEF).

Since the 2000s, Indonesia has regularly touted Russia as a potential source of submarines.  In December 2013, a team of Indonesian Navy officials travelled to Russia to begin work on acquiring submarines though failed to secure a contract. This January, the Russian government approached Jakarta with a new offer of submarines in addition to a variety of other weapon systems including fighters and helicopters.

Indonesia’s Submarine Requirements

As the world’s largest archipelagic state comprising more than 17,000 islands and vast tracts of water, a strong navy is critical to ensuring the defense and stability of Indonesia.  The Indonesian Navy has noted in its Defense Strategic Plan 2024 that a force of at least 10 to 12 submarines are required to cover each choke point in Indonesia’s territorial waters and ensure a MEF strategy is met. To achieve such force numbers will require a significant investment by Jakarta and even with that, will be years away.

Unlike some other Southeast Asia countries, the Indonesian Navy has long experience in operating submarines. Indeed throughout the 1960s and 1970s, apart from the superpowers and China, Indonesia operated the largest submarine force in Southeast Asia and one of the most powerful in the Asia-Pacific region with 12 Whiskey-class submarines purchased from the Soviet Union. Deteriorating relations between Indonesia and the Soviet Union resulted in a spare parts crisis that served to gradually force the Indonesian Navy to prematurely decommission submarines for use as spare parts.

Two Type 209/1300 submarines, the KRI Cakra and KRI Nenggala were purchased from West Germany in 1978 and commissioned in 1981. With the decommissioning of the last Whiskey-class in 1990, these two submarines have provided Indonesia with an undersea capability for over two-half decades. The need to bolster capabilities led Indonesia to award a contract to South Korea for three Chang Bogo-class submarines in 2011 which are expected to be completed by the first half of 2018. Once the three Chang Bogo-class submarines enter service, the navy will still be short seven submarines than it believes it requires. Furthermore the two submarines commissioned in 1981 are due to be decommissioned in 2020.

Impact of Indonesia-Russia sub deal

Even if Jakarta finalizes a deal with Russia for new submarines, it will be years before they can enter service. It is very likely that by 2020, the Indonesian Navy submarine fleet will be down to three, a far cry from the 12 deemed necessary for defense. In a region where submarine fleets are growing by leaps and bounds and threats are rising, Indonesia cannot afford to wait in acquiring more submarines.

http://www.valuewalk.com/2015/09/indonesia-looking-russia-new-submarines/

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Vietnamese Navy Kilo attack submarine HQ-182 Hanoi.