Indonesia Deploys Warship to Monitor China Coast Guard Vessel

    Indonesia Deploys Warship to Monitor China Coast Guard Vessel
    Last updated Jan 14, 2023
    Image credit: Antara Foto/Reuters [via Al Jazeera]


    • Indonesia's naval chief announced on Saturday that the country has sent a warship, maritime patrol plane, and drone to its North Natuna Sea to monitor a Chinese coast guard vessel sailing in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for the past two weeks.[1]
    • China's CCG 5901 — the world's largest coast guard vessel nicknamed "the monster" for its size — has reportedly been sailing near Indonesia's Tuna Block gas field and Vietnam's Chim Sao oil and gas field since Dec. 30.[2]
    • This comes shortly after Jakarta approved a $3B plan to develop the Tuna offshore gas field, which is expected to export gas to Vietnam by 2026 and reach a peak production capacity of 115M standard cubic feet per day by 2027.[3]
    • Indonesia claims that under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) — which grants international vessels navigation rights through an EEZ — the North Natuna Sea, or the southern end of the South China Sea, is part of its EEZ.[4]
    • But China claims the resource-rich maritime region rests within its expanded territory in the South China Sea, marked by a U-shaped "nine-dash line."[4]
    • In 2021, China and Indonesia clashed over an oil rig that had been conducting tests in Indonesia's gas-field development area, with China claiming the drilling was taking place in its territory.[2]


    Anti-China narrative

    By constantly sending coast guard vessels into its waters, China strategically pushes Indonesia to acknowledge the PRC's self-proclaimed maritime rights. Given that China continues to lurk in the waters around the North Natuna Sea, Jakarta must take diplomatic steps to protect Indonesia's national interests, sovereignty, and citizens.

    Pro-China narrative

    China has historical and legal rights to fish in the North Natuna Sea and to sail ships through Indonesia's so-called EEZ. Although Indonesia's off-shore drilling in China's waters violates its territorial integrity and sovereignty, the Chinese coast guards only carry out routine patrols to maintain maritime order and protect the country's financial interests.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 1% chance that there will be an armed conflict in the South China Sea before 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split