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China reacts on Indonesian president’s warship voyage to Natuna Islands

Update.ph — “We have repeatedly stated that China has no territorial sovereignty dispute with Indonesia, and that China holds no objection to Indonesia’s sovereignty over the Natuna Islands,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press conference June 23 after Indonesia President Joko Widodo sailed to the northernmost island group of Indonesia in South China Sea on same day.

However, the Chinese spokesperson said Indonesia and China has maritime dispute. China’s nine-dash line claim covers part of waters Indonesia also is claiming. “It is also true that the two countries have overlapping claims for maritime rights and interests over some waters of the South China Sea,” Hua Chunying said.

In past days, Indonesian maritime authorities have encountered Chinese fishermen in the said disputed waters.

The Indonesian president said his country will focus on developing the fishing, oil and gas industries around Natuna Islands. The said group of islands is the northernmost island group of Indonesia in South China Sea.

Around the Natuna islands, there are 16 oil and gas blocks, in which five block has been running its production, while 11 others are in the exploration stage,” Widodo said. “We will soon establish centers of marine and fisheries in an integrated manner.” He added that securing and guarding the said island group will be increased.

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