The Indonesian Navy reportedly sent an additional five vessels to heighten security in the North Natuna Sea after sighting Chinese and American ships in the area.
Although there was no reported disturbance from the vessels, Indonesian Navy western fleet commander Arsyad Abdullah told reporters in a report by Reuters that the navy deployed the ships, assisted by an air patrol, to secure the area.
“The Navy’s position on the North Natuna Sea is very firm in protecting national interests within the Indonesian jurisdiction in accordance with national law and international law that have been ratified,” Abdullah said.
He clarified that, while the ships were near the Natuna Islands, they remained in international waters.
Indonesia’s Maritime Territories
In response to increasingly aggressive Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, in 2017, Indonesia renamed the northernmost area of its exclusive economic zone, the North Natuna Sea.
The country has recently begun constructing floating tanks capable of patrolling the country’s maritime territories and carrying more than a platoon of marines to beef up its maritime security.
In June, the Indonesian Ministry of Defense also signed a contract with Italian company Fincantieri to purchase six FREMM multipurpose frigates and two used Maestrale class frigates to enhance maritime patrol capabilities.