In what could lead to tension between China and Indonesia, the later has become the latest Southeast Asian nation to ruffle China’s feathers over the South China Sea.
Indonesia renamed the northern reaches of its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea on Friday, the latest act of resistance by Southeast Asian nations to China’s territorial ambitions in the maritime region.
In an act of defiance against Beijing’s territorial ambitions in the region, Indonesia will refer to the northern areas of its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea as the “North Natuna Sea.”
Several Southeast Asian states dispute China’s territorial claims and are competing with China to exploit the South China Sea’s abundant hydrocarbon and fishing resources. China has raised the ante by deploying military assets on artificial islands constructed on shoals and reefs in disputed parts of the sea.
Unveiling the new official map, the deputy of maritime sovereignty at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Arif Havas Oegroseno, noted the northern side of its exclusive economic zone was the site of oil and gas activity.
Dotted with hundreds small islands, reefs and shoals, the South China Sea is a crucial shipping route and believed to be rich in natural resources, such as oil and gas.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he didn’t know anything about the details of the issue, but said the name South China Sea had broad international recognition and clear geographic limits.