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Amid the Northern Natuna Sea Dispute: Japan Will Grant Fisheries Monitoring Vessels to Indonesia

Indoensia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said Japan will grant fisheries monitoring ships which will operate in the Natuna Sea. It is a form of cooperation between the two countries in addition to increasing investment and trade cooperation.

"Specifically for Natuna, in addition to the fishing industry, Japan will help grant fisheries monitoring vessels and explore the development of the tourism industry," Retno said as reported by Detik on Sunday (1/12/2020).

According to Kompas, This plan is a form of Japanese government 's commitment to support Indonesia's efforts in order to strengthen the economy and improve the quality of human resources.

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The commitment was stated in a meeting between Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, last Friday, January 10, 2020.

Reported by Tempo on Sunday (1/12/2020), Japan is Indonesia's second largest trading and investment partner. In the January-September 2019 period, bilateral trade value was US $ 23.85 billion and Japan's investment value reached US $ 3.24 billion from 2,810 projects.

The number and the type of vessels which will be granted is still unclear.

Latest Condition in North Natuna Sea

Reported by CNN Indonesia, three Republican Indonesian Republic Warships (KRI) owned by the Indonesian Navy repelled convoys of Chinese fishing vessels found catching fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around Natuna waters, Riau Islands, Saturday (11/1).

On Friday (10/1), the Indonesian Armed Force spotted 30 foreign ships in Indonesia's Exclusive Economics Zone around Northern Natuna.

As quoted from the official press release, President Joko Widodo left for Natuna Regency, Riau Islands Province, Wednesday (01/08/2020).

Nine Dash Line overlaps with Indonesia EEZ. Source: wikimedia.org

Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security Mahfud Md said Indonesia government would send fishermen from the North Coast (Pantura) of Java to catch fish in the Republic of Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Jakarta, Monday, (01/06/2020).

Indonesia always adheres to the UNCLOS 1982 or UN Conventions relating to Maritime Law related to sovereign rights in Indonesia's EEZ near Natuna.

Meanwhile, China claims the North Natuna waters are based on nine dash lines (nine imaginary points) from their ancestors.

Read also: Around 600 Indonesians Are Suspected of Being Involved in Cross-border Terrorism
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