South China Sea Dispute: Will Indonesia Side With The Philippines?
Ahead of the ruling of the international tribunal that hears the territorial dispute case lodged by the Philippines against China over issues in South China Sea, Indonesia is framing its official stance on this heated dispute? Will Indonesia support China or the Philippines?Advertisement
With this, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered its official to frame a uniform and official stance of the country in the ongoing conflict in the South China Sea, the Jakarta Post reported.
Although Indonesia is not a direct party in the territorial dispute together with the Philippines and some of its ASEAN neighbors, China’s self-recognized nine-dash-line rule overlaps Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Widodo ordered his senior officials to outline the country’s stance on the matter in anticipation of the verdict from the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The international tribunal is expected to dispense its ruling anytime this month or early next month.
Luhut Pandjaitan, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister of Indonesia said the senior officials’ main mandate is to come up with an outline of the country’s position and complete it by Tuesday. Senior officials held meetings after Widodo issued the order Monday.
“President [Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo] has urged us to formulate our stance on the South China Sea so that all state officials have the same answers [in response to queries on the disputes]. There will be a meeting tomorrow. I hope we can finalize our stance in the meeting because we already have the draft,” Pandjaitan was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post.
Meanwhile, China was adamant in its position not to participate in the proceedings and honor the court’s judgment regardless of its outcomes. Instead, China has been pushing for unilateral arbitration in resolving the issue, that is, only between the Philippines and China or between countries with existing claims in the vast maritime zone.