A Chinese vessel (CCG 5204), equipped with a machine gun mounted on the front, was expelled from Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Monday following a heated argument with Indonesian authorities via radio.
CCG 5204, which claimed that it was patrolling within territories owned by China, was then escorted away while Indonesian patrol boats followed it around midday.
“The Ministry re-emphasized to the Chinese representative that there’s no overlapping between Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone and China’s waters,” said Indonesian Ambassador Teuku Faizasyah, speaking out against what is seen as an intrusion by China into the Indonesian waters.
Similarly, Wisnu Pramandita, a spokesman for Indonesian maritime security agency Bakamla, “firmly rejected” Chinese claims that the boat had been operating within China’s waters, adding that the area is within Indonesia’s EEZ.
It is not clear, however, when the boat first entered the disputed area, though it was first spotted on Saturday. The incident is said to have occurred near to the Natuna Regency, an archipelago of 272 islands in the southern West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Beijing’s claim to many parts of the WPS is linked to what it calls the nine-dash line – a U-shaped boundary said to include roughly 90% of the waters. The line is said to have its origins from the 1940s when it was included in Chinese maps by the Chinese Nationalist Party. However, its claims to the heavily disputed waters go back hundreds of years prior, though these are heavily contested.
In recent months, both Australia and the US have firmly rejected China’s claims to the region.