[SOUTH CHINA SEA] US-Indonesia Cooperation to End China’s Growing Aggression In The South China Sea.

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[SOUTH CHINA SEA] US-Indonesia Cooperation to End China’s Growing Aggression In The South China Sea.
The entire world is aware of China’s rising aggression and unilateral claims in the South China Sea region. While all countries are busy tackling the Covid-19 problem, China is continuing its military aggression in the disputed territory.
And it’s clear that China’s actions and unilateral claims are only to control the resources in the region. China has deliberately violated the existing law by carrying out many illegal acts. It tends to overlook the fact that Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia are the only nations that have legal jurisdiction over the region.

Beijing has no coherent legal basis for its “Nine-Dashed Line” claims in the region since it was formally announced in 2009. It is a vaguely-located demarcation line used by China and Taiwan for their claims over the South China Sea.

As one of the major countries in ASEAN, Indonesia, strongly opposes China’s confrontation in the South China Sea, especially when at the end of 2019, China’s vessel trespassed in the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in Natuna.

On several occasions, China’s fishing boats were found entering the Indonesian territorial waters, escorted by China’s coast guard as reported by The New York Times. In addition, recently an illegal sea-glider drone allegedly belonging to the Chinese Navy was found by fishermen in the Selayar Islands, Indonesia.

Moreover, China has been aggressively building ports, military installations, and airfields, especially in the Paracel and Spratly Islands. It looks like Beijing is ready to fight against any country opposing its move even though it has no right over the region.

The world acknowledges that Indonesia is a central figure in ASEAN. In the South China Sea dispute, Indonesia is not a claimant state. Four ASEAN member countries are directly involved as claimants: Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines. Indonesia is a mediator and a force of stability in ASEAN.

Indonesia can invite US cooperation with ASEAN countries to hold joint patrols in the South China Sea region. The joint military training activities that have been carried out by Indonesia-US in Natuna waters need to be carried out on a regular basis. This is to counterbalance China’s power in the region.

Indonesia should complete the deals for purchase F-15 Eagle and F/A-18 Hornet fighters from the US so that the US-Indonesia defense cooperation gets a boost. Besides, the US’ moral support for Indonesia to take a firm stand on China and lead ASEAN could increase.

Indonesia can become a trade leader to counter China’s influence. Economic cooperation with the US is the right step. So far, investors’ reputation from US companies in Indonesia is outstanding compared to those from China. If the US-Indonesia cooperation is strengthened, China’s influence in the South China Sea will be limited.
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