Posts Tagged ‘Susi Pudjiastuti’

Indonesia has these bigger fish to fry than South China Sea

August 6, 2016

Joko Widodo’s reshuffle comes amid loud noises on sovereignty, but is aimed more at economic issues than addressing tensions with China over fishing rights

By John McBeth
South China Morning Post

Saturday, August 6, 2016, 4:02 p.m.
 

cabinet reshuffle in Indonesia by President Joko Widodo that puts his former chief security minister and right-hand man Luhut Panjaitan in charge of maritime affairs is more about striking a political balance in the coalition government than adopting a harder line with China over disputed fishing rights in the South China Sea.

Widodo’s July 27 reshuffle, in which 13 of his 34 ministers were either replaced or moved sideways, came weeks after he held a cabinet meeting aboard a warship in waters off the Natuna Islands, following it with orders to expand offshore oil exploration and commercial fishing.

But the changes were mostly focused on improving his economic team as Indonesia struggles to close a widening budget deficit and get back to a five per cent-plus growth rate.

The president’s main motive in transferring Panjaitan to the maritime portfolio was to compensate one-time armed forces commander Wiranto for removing two ministers from his People’s Conscience Party, which has supported Widodo from the day he entered the presidential race in early 2014.

Unlike his predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Widodo does not regard foreign relations as a high priority unless it helps in foreign investment or trade. A retired army general, Panjaitan has been key to shoring up Widodo’s political support since he came to power 18 months ago, which is why insiders say he was unhappy at his abrupt transfer to a less influential post.

 An Indonesian ship arrests a Chinese fishing boat off the Nanuta Islands. Photo: AFP

In recent months, he had also taken a leading role in diplomatic efforts to deal with the intrusion of Chinese fishing boats into Indonesia’s Economic Exclusion Zone, including one incident where a Chinese patrol boat entered Indonesian waters to seize back a captured fishing boat.

When Widodo held his shipboard cabinet session in late June, Panjaitan said it was a clear message Indonesia was “very serious in its efforts to protect its sovereignty”.

Widodo told the Brookings Institute last October: “We reject any attempt by any state to control and dominate the sea and turn it into an arena for strategy competition … we need to talk closely to ensure good order at sea, prevent incidents, and ensure freedom of navigation.”

Beijing recognises Indonesian sovereignty over the Natunas, but in a new shift it now claims the 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone is part of “traditional Chinese fishing grounds”, a concept not recognised under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which it is a signatory.

While Indonesia is not a claimant to the Spratly Islands, which China argues ownership of against other regional powers, it has become alarmed at the number of incidents involving Chinese trawlers and Chinese coastguard corvettes which, until the Indonesian navy’s recent intervention, were able to intimidate lightly armed maritime patrol vessels.

Those problems came to the fore when Panjaitan led a delegation to Beijing for last April’s Fifth Bilateral Dialogue, a visit which clearly pleased Chinese officials who have worked to create divisions within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), four of whose members are Spratly claimants.

Widodo has been reluctant to enter into a full-blown row with China because of its funding for vital infrastructure projects, pinning his hopes on Jakarta’s efforts to persuade China to sign off on a tension-lowering code of conduct for the South China Sea. Panjaitan, for his part, has been careful not to say anything inflammatory, tellingThis Week in Asia on his return from Beijing he was hopeful of an amicable solution. A month later, senior Chinese coastguard officers arrived to begin talks on a memorandum of understanding with their Indonesian counterparts.

The maritime coordinating ministry’s point man on sovereignty issues – an important component of Widodo’s much-trumpeted maritime policy – is veteran diplomat Havas Oegroseno, once a front runner for Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi’s position.

 Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti is known for her no-nonsense approach. Photo: Reuters

Asked at an August 2 forum about the rash of incidents in northern Indonesian waters, Oegroseno followed what has become the official party line. “It is not a dispute,” he insisted. “We’re just protecting our interests.”

Also under Panjaitan’s wing is popular fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti, who has put a serious dent in rampant poaching across the archipelago.

Although she accompanied Panjaitan to Beijing and gets along well with him, Pudjiastuti’s no-nonsense approach leaves little room for diplomatic niceties when it comes to saying what she thinks and scuttling trawlers caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters. Last week she made waves again when she said only Indonesians were allowed to fish in Indonesian waters.


A member of the Indonesian navy standing before the Chinese trawler Hua Li-8 in Belawan, North Sumatra, on April 23, 2016. Indonesia has accused China of illegal fishing in Indonesia’s EEZ.  PHOTO: AFP

Panjaitan will have other fish to fry as well. His new portfolio has oversight of the mines and energy ministry, currently grappling with issues ranging from the development of eastern Indonesia’s Masela gas field to a contract extension for US mining giant Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold in Papua.

With Panjaitan otherwise distracted and Wiranto more inclined to look inward than outward in his new role as political coordinating minister, the South China Sea will remain very much the domain of the foreign ministry.

http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/geopolitics/article/1999595/indonesia-has-these-bigger-fish-fry-south-china-sea

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 (Contains links to several related articles)

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The Indonesian government has identified China as a major potential source of funds, and last year chose a Chinese consortium over a rival bid from Japan to fund and construct a high-speed railway line.

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South China Sea: New Chinese modus operandi catches Indonesia by surprise

March 23, 2016

Frantic Phone Call Failed to Halt China-Indonesia Sea Spat — Chinese embassy didn’t answer four phone calls or reply to two e-mails

March 23, 2016

By  
Bloomberg

Hours after reports of a confrontation between a Chinese coastguard ship and an Indonesian vessel in the South China Sea, a top Chinese diplomat called an Indonesian government official with a plea: Don’t tell the media, we are friends after all.

That request was rebuffed as officials in Jakarta called a press conference to complain about China’s actions. While Indonesia has largely been on the periphery of disputes between China and other nations over the South China Sea, the spat risks drawing the Southeast Asian nation into territorial contests in the oil-and-gas rich waters.

The Indonesian official said his government didn’t want to respond, but was forced to because China’s actions were especially provocative, and fitted a pattern of becoming more assertive in the waters. The official didn’t want to be named because of the sensitivity of the incident. The Chinese embassy didn’t answer four phone calls or reply to two e-mails asking about the call.

The behind-the-scenes diplomacy reveals how both sides generally prefer to keep such incidents under wraps, albeit for different reasons. Indonesia has traditionally avoided publicizing incidents in the South China Sea as it seeks to preserve economically vital ties with China. Beijing is aware of the need for international support, especially as it prepares for a ruling in The Hague on the legality of territorial claims that cross over with the Philippines.

‘Harmonious Relations’

“In the past, when incidents such as this one have occurred, Indonesia has tended to downplay them or even cover them up in the interests of harmonious relations with China,” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. “But if China starts to try and enforce its jurisdictional claims in Indonesia’s maritime domain, Jakarta will be left with no option but to publicize Chinese actions and push back against Beijing’s assertive behavior.”

China is Indonesia’s largest two-way trading partner and President Joko Widodo is relying on it to fund much of his country’s infrastructure needs. China, keen to create a new “maritime” Silk Road trading route to the Middle East and Europe to complement a revived overland route, was one of Indonesia’s larger foreign investors in the final quarter of 2015 and the government expects it to top the list in the next five years.

Indonesian officials say a fishing patrol caught a Chinese vessel on Saturday trawling within the exclusive economic zone derived from its Natuna islands, which look onto the western section of the South China Sea. Officers detained the crew and began towing the boat. As it neared the Natuna islands, at least one Chinese coast guard vessel rammed the Chinese boat to try and free it, Indonesia Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told reporters.

The government later submitted a protest to China’s charge d’affaires Sun Weide in Jakarta over the incident, which it classified as a violation of the “sovereignty of Indonesia’s territorial waters,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.

QuickTake map shows overlapping territorial claims of Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam. {NSN O2OSHZ1ANZG8}

“We told the charge d’affaires that our relationship with China is very good and in this regard we should all respect international law,” Marsudi said. “I stress that Indonesia is not a party to the South China Sea dispute, so we are asking for a clarification about the incident.“

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing on Monday the incident took place in “traditional Chinese fishing grounds.” Hua said the Chinese vessel was “attacked and harassed” by an armed Indonesian vessel.

Chinese Passports

China claims more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest waterways, based on a so-called nine dash line for which it won’t give precise coordinates. That has brought it into dispute with Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia, which also claim islands within the line.

In 2012, China issued passports showing the nine dash line encroaches on the exclusive economic zone off the Natuna Islands, but not the islands themselves. Indonesia hasn’t recognized the claim.

China’s actions in the South China Sea are testing Widodo, better known as Jokowi, who has made protecting fishing grounds against illegal encroachment a priority under his vision to turn his country into a global maritime power. The administration has blown up several dozen ships from Vietnam, Malaysia and other countries that were seized while fishing in the archipelago of 17,000 islands.

Natuna Warships

The Indonesian navy has in recent months started deploying more warships in the Natuna area and is pushing to reclaim airspace in the sensitive military area that’s currently controlled by Singapore. Natuna has 51 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves, a third of the country’s total, according to the energy ministry.

The latest incident was first publicized on Sunday by Susi Pudjiastuti, the fisheries minister, who has become a popular member of Jokowi’s cabinet for her strong stance against illegal fishing boats.

“The very heart of Jokowi’s ‘global maritime fulcrum’ vision is a determination to protect Indonesia’s sovereignty,” said Natalie Sambhi, a research fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre focusing on Indonesian foreign and defense policy. “Staying silent in this case will be a sign that his administration is willing to tolerate sovereignty violations when the going gets really tough.”

China Missiles

The incident follows others this year that have focused attention on China’s intentions in the disputed waters, including the placement of surface-to-air missiles on an island in the Paracel chain and preventing Philippine boats accessing fishing grounds in the Spratly chain.

The Global Times, a newspaper published by the Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily, urged both sides to show restraint and focus on shared interests such as a high-speed rail link that China is building between Jakarta and Bandung.

“China does not wish for disputes with several neighboring countries in the South China Sea all at the same time,” the paper said in an editorial Wednesday. “The Natuna Islands belong to Indonesia,” it said. “China has no objection to it. But Indonesia’s EEZ is overlapping part of the nine dash line, which makes fishery disputes in the area inevitable.”

It’s unclear if the Chinese actions were calculated to test Indonesia’s resolve or were a captain going beyond the standard operating procedure, said Euan Graham, director of the international security program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney. The exact location of the incident will be crucial as to whether Indonesia takes a harder position, he said.

“Intrusions around the EEZ are not new, and Indonesia under this administration and the previous ones have taken a deliberately non-confrontational approach,” he said. “What could flip that is if this was proven to be in violation of Indonesian sovereignty. It would be very difficult for the government to say one law applies to Thailand and Vietnam, and not to China.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-22/frantic-phone-call-failed-to-contain-china-indonesia-sea-spat

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We at Peace and Freedom have never seen any evidence that fishermen from the Philippines or Vietnam have used fire bombs on Chinese ships. But we have seen evidence of China fire bombing Vietnamese and Filipino vessels.  Here: Captain Pham Quang Thanh on his Vietnamese fishing boat that was fire-bombed  and set on fire by an apparent  Chinese naval boat off Hoang Sa. He said China set his boat on fire.

Vietnamese Fishing Boat Fired On, Set Ablaze
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/boat-03252013152934.html

Philippines, Indonesia to revive bilateral accord amid concerns over illegal fishing

May 23, 2015

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The Indonesian navy scuttles foreign fishing vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters near Bitung, North Sulawesi on May 20, 2015 in the is photo taken by Antara Foto. China on Thursday, May 21, expressed “serious concern” over the blowing up of a Chinese fishing vessel seized by Indonesia six years ago, the first such incident under President Joko Widodo. Reuters photo

Indonesia had started to tighten its policies against illegal fishing amid continued concerns over poaching by fishermen from neighbouring countries

Gulf News

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Manila: The Philippines and Indonesia are engaged in talks that could revive a bilateral fishing agreement between the two countries as concerns are raised over unabated illegal fishing in the region.

According to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, both countries had initially agreed to strengthen cooperation in information exchange and enforcement to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) in their respective territorial waters and fishing grounds.

A bilateral fishing agreement between Indonesia and the Philippines expired in 2006 and the two countries are now in a rush to secure their fishing grounds from intruders.

Alcala had met with Susi Pudjiastuti, Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), while he was in Jakarta recently to attend the World Economic Forum.

Alcala said the Indonesian official agreed to his suggestion to have both sides convene a technical working group that will meet “at the soonest possible time” to flesh out the issues, including the concerns of Filipino-owned fishing companies in Indonesia regarding MMAF’s strict enforcement of its policies and regulations.

Indonesia had started to tighten its policies against illegal fishing amid continued concerns over poaching by fishermen from neighbouring countries.

Last May 20, Indonesian maritime authorities scuttled 41 fishing vessels caught illegally operating in the countries’ waters.

The vessels that were scuttled include those that fly the flag of the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand as well as China.

The vessels, which were rounded up in several maritime law enforcement activities by Indonesian authorities, were rigged with explosive charges and detonated in seas off Bitung, Pontianak, West Kilamanta, Belawan, North Sumatra, Pidie Aceh and Ranai, Rau Islands, Antara, the government-run Indonesian news service reported.

Director General of Supervision of Fisheries and Marine Resources Asep Burhanudin, said the foreign fishing vessels were scuttled upon orders from President Joko Widodo.

IUU fishing is a major concern in the region as well as globally.

With depleting fish stocks and tightening competition among privately-run entities engaged in fishing, countries with large fishing areas are in increasing need to tighten regulations against illegal or IUU fishing.

Earlier this year, Pudjiastuti announced she would not issue new licenses to foreign fishing companies to protect the country’s territorial waters and fishing grounds from illegal fishing.

Earlier, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) urged countries to take steps against IUU fishing amid concerns that unabated illegal fishing practices would impact on the world’s fish supply.

“The Western Pacific Region is important because it is the home of more than half of the world’s tuna stocks,” European Commissioner Maria Damanaki of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, earlier said.

http://gulfnews.com/news/asia/philippines/philippines-indonesia-to-revive-bilateral-accord-amid-concerns-over-illegal-fishing-1.1520094

Image: Chinese fishing vessels are seen anchored at Fiery Cross Reef — part of the Spratly islands — and under the watchful eye of China’s navy. There is a huge economic aspect of China’s interest in the South China Sea. Immense reserves of petroleum and natural gas are below the South China Sea and the sea itself is teeming with marine life and other foods valuable to the Chinese. The islands in this region are claimed partially or in their entirety by Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines and Brunei. AFP photo

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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.

SusiPudjiastuti

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.

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“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. –

See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/02/26/susi-torpedoes-navy-over-chinese-vessel.html#sthash.SC1v7pN9.dpuf

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
http://thediplomat.com/2014/12/indonesia-may-sink-chinese-vessels-jokowi-adviser/

Indonesia sinks Vietnamese boats to stop illegal fishing
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-2862091/Indonesia-sinks-Vietnamese-boats-stop-illegal-fishing.html

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.
http://dunyanews.tv/index.php/en/World/248577-Indonesia-sinks-Vietnamese-boats-to-stop-illegal-f

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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)

 

 

Indonesia’s anti-poaching policy under fire in international community after fishing boats destroyed

January 26, 2015

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Indonesian navy personnel observe a Vietnamese fishing boat sinking after they fired upon it and destroyed it for illegally operating in Indonesian waters, in Riau Islands, in December. (Tribun Batam/Argianto Da Nugroho)

By Bagus BT Saragih, The Jakarta Post

While the governments of the nations whose fishing boats have been destroyed by Indonesian authorities have largely been silent, overseas media have not, leading to growing unpleasant sentiment against Jakarta.

While analysts say that diplomatic fallout from the anti-poaching policies of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is inevitable, the President and his officials repeatedly tried to refute the concern.

“ASEAN will remain a priority for Indonesia’s foreign policy,” Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said recently, referring to the Southeast Asian regional grouping whose members, including Indonesia and the poaching nations, prize dialog and consensus.

Outside ASEAN, China is the biggest source of boat’s illicitly operating in Indonesian territory, while Taiwan also often sends medium-to-large fishing vessels. Thailand’s Bangkok Post ran an editorial early in January with a provocative title: “Indonesia is wrong,” earning that Jakarta’s hard-line policy was “undiplomatic and frankly unfriendly toward its ASEAN partners and neighbors.”

Harsh criticism also came from Malaysian expert Farish A. Noor in the New Straits Times.

“The disturbing thing about the burning of the Vietnamese boats is that it gives the impression that Indonesia is the only victim, when we all know this is not true.”“If every country in ASEAN followed the same path — pandering to populism, burning the ships of neighbors, etc. — then where will ASEAN head to?” Farish said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s The China Post asked Indonesia to refrain from firing on boats illegally operating in Indonesian waters following reports that the Indonesian Navy was hunting four Taiwanese vessels.

Maritime and Fisheries Affairs Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has signaled her suspicions about Thailand, given that the nation exports far more fisheries products than Indonesia despite a smaller maritime territory.

Thailand’s fisheries exports in 2013 reached US$11 billion, according to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), as opposed to Indonesia’s $4.19 billion.

But the Bangkok Post’s editorial, which garnered many negative online comments, acknowledged that “In Thailand, almost as many foreign fishing vessels violate our waters as Thai boats fish illegally in other countries’ waters.”

Some might say the editorial implicitly affirmed allegations that Thai fish exports originated from Indonesian waters.

Jakarta was also called insensitive after authorities blew up Vietnamese and Thai boats captured in Indonesian waters close to the already-tense South China Sea — perhaps mirroring China’s tough talk in the area.Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, which are among the poachers, are also claimants in the South China Sea territorial disputes.

Navy Western Fleet commander Rear Admiral Widodo, however, said that the location was picked because the poacher boats were captured nearby.

When it comes to Chinese poachers, however, Indonesian authorities have not taken stern action.

The government has not destroyed several Chinese fishing vessels captured in the Arafura Sea, in the southern waters of West Papua, citing an ongoing trial. “We are taking the persuasive route,” Susi said, adding that she had made a formal appeal to Retno to talk to her Chinese counterpart about the poachers.

Lawmaker Ahmad Hanafi Rais criticized the government’s lenient stance against the Chinese vessels.

“Minister Susi was tough against Vietnam and Thailand but then weak when it comes to China and Japan,” he said. “What happened?”

Susi is confident that the anti-poaching campaign would not lead to the international hostilities or harm regional stability.

“We have established persuasive coordination with those nations because this is not only about stealing fish, but also sovereignty as well as environmental sustainability,” she said.

Days after Indonesia’s new Cabinet was formed, Susi spoke to the ambassadors of Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia to explain the anti-poaching policy.

According to Foreign Ministry Director General for Multilateral Affairs Hasan Kleib, Indonesia would push to criminalize illegal fishing during the Crime Congress in Doha, Qatar, in April.

Vietnamese fishing boat

The ministry is also drafting a communiqué on “Voluntary International Cooperation to Combat Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) Fishing and to Promote Sustainable Fisheries Governance” for Indonesia and friendly countries.

Hikmahanto Juwana, an international law expert from the University of Indonesia, said the anti-poaching policy would not worsen bilateral relations.

“The illicit practices took place in Indonesian territory, hence the authorities had every right to enforce the law adopted by Indonesia,” Hikmahanto said.

“There is no nation in the world which justifies its citizens committing legal violations in other nations,” he said.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/25/when-fish-row-turns-diplomatic.html

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