Posts Tagged ‘Indonesia’s navy’

Indonesia Catches Two Vietnamese Fishing Boats in Indonesian Waters of South China Sea

July 25, 2017

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s navy said it fired a warning shot at two Vietnamese fishing vessels that were discovered in Indonesian waters over the weekend in the second clash between the two countries in the South China Sea in two months.

Navy spokesman Gig Jonias Mozes Sipasulta said the Vietnamese boats were four nautical miles inside Indonesian territory when intercepted by an Indonesian warship on Sunday. He denied media reports that four Vietnamese fishermen were injured.

In a statement released Monday evening, Sipasulta said the two vessels sailed toward the bow of the KRI Wiranto-379, which fired a warning shot, causing the Vietnamese to immediately head for international waters.

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Indonesia has a wide range of coast guard and navy ships

Several Vietnamese fishing vessels escaped Indonesian interception in May following a show of force by Vietnam’s coast guard in the South China Sea, where China’s expansive territorial claims overlap with the waters of several Southeast Asian nations.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago with more than 13,000 islands, has become increasingly assertive in defending its maritime territory and exclusive economic zone.

It has destroyed hundreds of foreign fishing vessels caught in its territory and earlier this month said it had renamed the southernmost reaches of the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea.

Experts said that move was aimed at protecting its exclusive economic zone north of the Natuna island chain, which overlaps with China’s nine-dash line that roughly demarcates its claim to the South China Sea.


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Indonesian Deputy Minister for Maritime Affairs Arif Havas Oegroseno (C) stands in front of a new map of Indonesia during talks with reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta

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Indonesia’s Deputy Minister for Maritime Affairs Arif Havas Oegroseno points at the location of North Natuna Sea on a new map of Indonesia during talks with reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta

 (Contains links to several more related articles)

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May 2017 — Vietnam Coast Guard 8005 vessel allegedly hits a Vietnamese-flagged fishing boat, which had been caught by Indonesian authorities for alleged poaching in Indonesian waters. The boat sinks and Indonesian patrol personnel Gunawan Wibisono guarding it is held hostage by the Vietnamese authorities. (The Jakarta Post/Source)

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.


Indonesia Wants U.S. Help With Sea Power Ambitions

October 24, 2015
Indonesian Navy personnel show their skills during a military anniversary rehearsal in Cilegon, Banten, Indonesia on Oct. 3, 2015. President Joko Widodo is planning to build a new coast guard to improve policing of the country's vast waters.
Indonesian Navy personnel show their skills during a military anniversary rehearsal in Cilegon, Banten, Indonesia on Oct. 3, 2015. President Joko Widodo is planning to build a new coast guard to improve policing of the country’s vast waters. Photo: European Pressphoto Agency
President Joko Widodo to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama on his first state visit to Washington, D.C.

JAKARTA, Indonesia—Indonesia will seek U.S. help as it builds a new coast guard to patrol its strategic waters, and will play a more active role in resolving regional territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.

President Joko Widodo meets with U.S. President Barack Obama on his first state visit to Washington, D.C., next week, and maritime security and other defense ties will be high on the agenda, Luhut Pandjaitan, coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs in the Southeast Asian nation, said in an interview.

Mr. Pandjaitan, a former general who is one of the most influential members of Mr. Widodo’s government and an architect of the visit to the U.S., also said Indonesia will soon begin playing a more active role in resolving regional conflicts in the South China Sea, where Chinese claims are a point of contention for Indonesia’s neighbors such as Vietnam and the Philippines.

One area of cooperation could include U.S. help in developing a coast guard in the sprawling archipelago nation of 18,000 islands. “Our expectation in the near future” is for a U.S. role in that effort, Mr. Pandjaitan said.

Earlier this month, the U.S. said it would spend $100 million on maritime law enforcement in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia. Mr. Pandjaitan said the details of that assistance aren’t yet clear.

Indonesia, a nation of 250 million people and Southeast Asia’s largest economy, occupies a strategic position in global trade and transit waters, stretching nearly 3,000 kilometers from the Indian to Pacific oceans. Almost any passage between the two requires transiting through chokepoints in Indonesian waters.


Indonesia lacks resources to consistently patrol all but the busiest trade waters in areas such as the Malacca Strait, and one of Mr. Widodo’s central goals is to change that, including by boosting training and military exercises with regional heavyweights Japan and China.

Defense analysts say Indonesia has been less active in regional issues in the past year, and Mr. Pandjaitan said this would end as Indonesia puts its worst economic slide in six years behind it.

“The first 7-8 months, we were focused on our economy,” he said. “If you cannot manage your own domestic issues, how can you manage international things?”

Washington has said it would soon sail ships through waters around islets that China has built on reefs in the South China Sea, a move Mr. Pandjaitan said is within its rights.

“We don’t want to be like [we] invite the U.S. to be there,” Mr. Pandjaitan said. “But this is the international sea, and everybody has the right to cross this area.‘’

“We don’t recognize the 9-dash line,” he added, referring to a territorial line on some Chinese maps claiming the disputed waters. He called the line, which China says reflects historical claims, “imaginary.”

China’s foreign ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment on Mr. Pandjaitan’s remarks.

Indonesia isn’t a claimant in the dispute, lying just south of the South China Sea, but President Widodo told the Journal this week that he wants stability in the region, and will continue to push for a code of conduct to govern relations in the region, a regional effort that has dragged on for years.

Indonesia isn’t in a position of aligning with the U.S. over China, defense analysts and Indonesian officials say.

“Indonesian strategic concerns about China are not that much greater than its concerns about the U.S.,” said Walter Lohman, director of the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation. Indonesia has enormous interest in China’s Silk Road project and associated financing, he said.

The U.S. placed some military sanctions on Indonesia in the 1990s and 2000s related to human rights abuses. Indonesian officials “learned that lesson well and so have a proven interest in maintaining diversity in choice of security partners,” Mr. Lohman said.

U.S. Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr. told reporters this week that the U.S. is willing to build military ties with Indonesia. He pointed to Maryland-based Lockheed Martin LMT 1.30 % ’s cockpit demonstration of its latest model F16V to Indonesia earlier this month as sign of the U.S.’s willingness to work closely with Indonesia and the development of military-to-military relations between the two.

The U.S. has more exercises with Indonesia than Indonesia has had with any other country, and has a significant military equipment supply effort under way, he said, adding that officials traveling with Mr. Widodo will also make a visit to the Pentagon to discuss advancing U.S.—Indonesia military relations.

Write to Ben Otto at

China’s claim to sovereignty in the South China Sea is not as clear in  international law as China says. See:

Indonesia’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Orders a Crackdown on Illegal Chinese Fishing

February 28, 2015

By Nani Afrida, The Jakarta Post

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti was in no better place on Wednesday to vent her anger when it comes to the Navy’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for cracking down on foreign poachers.


At the headquarters of the Navy’s Western Fleet in Central Jakarta, the outspoken minister told reporters about a seemingly untouchable Chinese fishing vessel that appeared to operate freely despite the revocation of its license in 2013. The Fu Yuan Yu 80 was caught on the radar of Susi’s office on Tuesday operating off the northern coast of Jakarta, with no sign that the Navy intended to detain the ship despite knowing its location.

“It [the ship’s continued operation] is an extraordinary example of abuse of the NKRI [the Unitary State of Indonesia],” said Susi after attending the inauguration of Western Fleet commander Rear Admiral Taufiqurrahman.


“I hope the Navy and the PSDKP [the Maritime and Fisheries Monitoring Task Force] can detain the vessel as soon as possible today [Wednesday],” urged Susi, who uses Army personnel as her security detail. According to Susi, the vessel is operated by an Indonesian firm PT. Antartica, which is part of the same group used by the Chinese operators of the MV Hai Fa.

The MV Hai Fa was seized in December and is the biggest ship the ministry has yet captured. The ministry seized the 4,306-ton vessel on suspicion that it was conducting illicit practices in Indonesian territorial waters. It was seized with the assistance of the Navy on Dec. 27.

The ship and its 24-man crew, all Chinese nationals, was chartered by Indonesian fishery companies to export goods to China. Navy spokesperson Commodore Manahan Simorangkir said the Navy had ordered a hunt for the Fu Yuan Yu 80.

“The field command is attempting to find the vessel now,” Manahan said. In December, the Navy sought to capture 22 Chinese vessels, but only eight were actually caught.

The failure has raised questions about the Navy’s commitment to safeguarding the country’s territory. Indonesia is taking a tough stance against China in its fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, by confiscating Chinese vessels and ending privileges granted to China to fish in Indonesian waters.

The government has revoked a deal signed with China in 2013 that gave Chinese fishermen advantages over other countries fishing in Indonesian waters. After President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took office on Oct. 20, Indonesia upped the ante in its battle against illegal fishing by capturing many vessels from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Taiwan and Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Citing an annual loss of more than US$2 billion to foreign poachers, Indonesia has sunk more than a dozen vessels from Vietnam, Thailand, PNG and Malaysia. The government has sunk no Chinese vessels yet as it is still awaiting court decisions determining whether the vessels violated the law. –

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Editors Note: Early in December 2014, Indonesia carried out a threat and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat but it has not effectively rid itself of Chinese fishermen as of now.

See: Indonesia May Sink Chinese Vessels: Jokowi Adviser

Indonesia sinks Vietnamese boats to stop illegal fishing

JAKARTA (AFP) – Indonesia blew up and sank three empty Vietnamese boats Friday, the navy said, as the world s biggest archipelago nation pushes to stop foreigners from illegally fishing in its waters.


An Indonesian warship launches rounds of missiles during the celebration of the 69th anniversary of the Indonesian armed forces in Surabaya in eastern Java i...

An Indonesian warship launches rounds of missiles during the celebration of the 69th anniversary of the Indonesian armed forces in Surabaya in eastern Java island on October 7, 2014 ©Juni Kriswanto (AFP/File)



Philippines, Indonesian leaders discuss territorial disagreements; fate of death row Filipina

February 9, 2015


Indonesian President Joko Widodo, second from right, is greeted by Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay, second from left, as he arrives at the Villamor Air Base in suburban Pasay, south of Manila, Philippines, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. Widodo is set to meet Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and other top officials tomorrow to discuss ways to enhance economic, security ties and regional issues including territorial conflicts in the South China Sea. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Associated Press

— The Philippines will raise its concerns over China’s land reclamation in disputed reefs and discuss Manila’s new peace deal with Muslim rebels with Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who arrived Sunday for a brief visit, an official said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said President Benigno Aquino III will discuss with Jokowi how their Southeast Asian nations can strengthen defense and maritime cooperation and bolster trade and investment.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Philippines’ concern over China’s land reclamation in disputed reefs in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea will be raised in the talks with Jokowi.

The two nations are among the founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a 10-nation bloc, which has been helping resolve the long-unresolved territorial rifts involving China, Taiwan and four ASEAN member state — Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Last month, del Rosario urged fellow ASEAN foreign ministers to seek international support and demand that China immediately stop the land reclamation, warning the regional bloc’s credibility may be undermined if it remains silent on the issue.

Del Rosario told the ministers that China’s massive reclamations could threaten freedom of navigation and the vast offshore region’s biodiversity.

The Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia have protested the reclamation, worried that China can transform the emerging islands into offshore military bases to reinforce Beijing’s vast territorial claims, according to Philippine officials.

Indonesia and China have no formal dispute, though in 2010, Indonesia’s navy came close to a shooting encounter with Chinese vessels that had entered waters off Jakarta’s Natuna island gas field near the sea. Indonesian officials said the incident was an intrusion by fishermen and not part of a territorial dispute.

Indonesia’s support to the Philippine government’s peace talks with Muslim rebels in the south will also be tackled in talks with Jokowi, del Rosario said.

The Philippines signed with the largest Muslim rebel group a new autonomy deal for minority Muslims in the south of the largely Roman Catholic nation. The deal came under fire when some of the Muslim rebel group’s fighters were implicated in a Jan. 25 clash that left 44 Filipino police commandos dead.




Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Philippines as Fate of Death Row Filipina lingers


New Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived on his first state visit to the Philippines today, as the fate of a Filipina facing execution for drug smuggling in his country hovers over planned talks.


Dressed in traditional batik shirt, Mr Widodo was met at a Manila airbase by Philippine officials before being whisked away without making any statement.

Mr Widodo, who is on the last stop of a three-nation trip after visiting Malaysia and Brunei, will meet with Philippine President Benigno Aquino tomorrow with the pair expected to sign several agreements, the presidential palace in Manila said.

However, his visit comes as the Philippines tries to prevent the execution of a female national facing death by firing squad in Indonesia after being convicted of smuggling heroin.
A spokesman for Aquino, Edwin Lacierda, said the leaders would discuss drug trafficking but did not say if they would address the case of the woman, who has not been publicly named.
“We are in discussions to further work out cooperation in various areas of mutual interest and concerns, such as migrant workers, technical-vocational skills upgrading, the combatting of trafficking of narcotics, and (for) educational visits,” Mr Lacierda said.
Another Aquino spokesman, Herminio Coloma, later said in an interview on government radio that the two leaders would also take up “maritime cooperation, defence, trade and investment”.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said that the accords would cover education, narcotics cooperation, a joint declaration on protecting migrant workers and “research and training in the field of defence studies”.
This could include the issue of China, which regards Indonesia as having a potentially pivotal role in calming rising tensions between Manila and Beijing over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, according to analysts.
In August, then-president-elect Mr Widodo told Japan’s Asahi newspaper that Indonesia, which has better bilateral ties with China than the Philippines, stood ready to act as an intermediary.
“Indonesia has the gravitas to be the champion of peace in the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations). Widodo can also be our partner in our efforts to improve relations with China,” , a former Philippine ambassador to ASEAN, said.
“Even if Indonesia is not a claimant country (in the South China Sea dispute), it has always been playing the role of a convenor of important discussions on the issue since the 1980s,” said Mr Villacorta, now an international relations specialist at De la Salle University in Manila.
The Philippines signed a maritime border accord with neighbouring Indonesia in May 2014 that has been hailed as a model for peacefully settling territorial disputes.
Last month, Mr Widodo, who has disappointed rights activists by voicing support for capital punishment, angered several countries by allowing the execution of six offenders on drug charges last month, including five foreigners.
The Catholic-majority Philippines does not have the death penalty, and the fate of Filipinos abroad is a political hot potato in a country where 10 per cent of the population is forced to seek work overseas.