Mudabicara.com_ Southeast China Sea dispute between Indonesia and China is getting warmer after another incident when a Chinese coast guard vessel escorted several Chinese fishing boats into waters that are within China’s self-proclaimed nine-dash-line, but are also inside Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone near the Natuna Islands in the South China Sea.

The latest event follows a pattern of conduct by Chinese vessels in maritime areas which China disputes with Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Acutely alert of that pattern, Jakarta promptly summoned China’s ambassador and issued a formal diplomatic protest. In the meantime, the Indonesian military deployed ten naval ships to the area and four F-16 fighters to Natuna Island. Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo even flew to the island to survey the situation.

Some actors that relate to this dispute are Philippines and Vietnam. Both are claiming that they have their territory in South China Sea, even though their influence is not as significant as Indonesia vs China in that area.

ASEAN not yet made a bold statement about the dispute, but if ASEAN play they role on the dispute it could means that ASEAN must support Philippine and Vietnam to push China from the archipelago.

For Indonesia, after what happened in 1990s up until 2000s, dialogue but China and Indonesia result is distinct; hence Indonesia began taking a stronger line. In the other hand, the head of Indonesia’s maritime security agency called Chinese claims in the area a “real threat” to his country. Jakarta also warned that, if forced, it could take legal action against China, just as the Philippines did at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Such an action would again cast China in an uncomfortable international spotlight.

Oleh : Edyana Isnan