Indonesia gets tough on the South China Sea

Indonesian President Joko Widodo responded to Chinese incursions in the Natunas by holding a cabinet meeting aboard a navy corvette
June 23, 2016: Indonesian President Joko Widodo (R) and his minister for politics, law and security affairs Luhut Panjaitan (C) aboard a navy corvette in the Natunas (source: dpa)
  • Indonesia maintains it is not party to any territorial disputes in the South China Sea
  • China is testing this stance by incursions near the Natuna islands, where Indonesia claims a 200-mile exclusive zone
  • Jakarta's stance is stiffening, which could align it with the other nations opposing China's maritime push

President Joko Widodo – or Jokowi, as he is known – has proclaimed his vision of Indonesia as a “maritime fulcrum” of the Indo-Pacific region, yet he has been far from coherent or consistent on the South China Sea disputes.

But in recent months, as Chinese fishing boats and patrol ships encroach on the Natuna islands, things may be changing.

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