UNAIR NEWS – Another conflict occurs in Natuna Sea after a Chinese ship entered without permission some time ago. China claims that Natuna Sea is included as its water region.
Responding to this issue, a lecturer in History program, Faculty of Humanities (FIB) Universitas Airlangga, Adrian Perkasa, S. Hum., M.A., gave his response. Based on its history, there are several perspectives related to maritime rights, including ownership.
“The perspective of the West, China, Java, Malacca, and others where each has its own perspective,” he said.
Adrian added that maritime affairs have been regulated in an international legal framework called UNCLOS. Before UNCLOS, the oceans were considered free and not owned by anyone. Until 1957, seas in Indonesia included the Java Sea, the Malacca Strait, the Banda Sea, Arafuru, and others are free waters.
Before UNCLOS was inaugurated on December 10, 1982, Indonesia had a foundation, the Djuanda Declaration. At that moment Ir. Djuanda who was then Prime Minister in December 1957 declared that Indonesia was an archipelago.
The perspective of the archipelago is interesting because it sees Indonesia as an ocean with islands. So, it is not a general perspective that sees the ocean as the separator of lands or islands.
“Through a long diplomatic struggle, finally in 1982 this law (Djuanda Declaration, ed) was strengthened with UNCLOS,” he said.
Some countries which initially rejected the Djuanda Declaration eventually participated in ratifying UNCLOS, including China. North Natuna Sea is very strategic to be contested because it has an abundance of natural resources, and it is geopolitically attractive. Therefore, the Natuna sea area is directly in contact with many countries.
Natuna Sea is also a trade route, in the arteries of the ocean’s silk lanes in the past.
“Imagine, who could control this sea will control a busy strait like Hormuz bay in Persia,” he said
Adrian also said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at this time could follow up with other actions, especially at the diplomacy table. This moment can be used by ASEAN organization to solve the issue because basically the most threatened are ASEAN countries.
The moment can be used to fix weaknesses in the ASEAN community. He also concluded that as an ASEAN community, the perspective to protect boundaries must be strengthened again and not just be trapped in the nationalism with limited point of views.
Author: Aditya Novrian
Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia