Indonesia has reaffirmed its statement on the South China Sea and the country’s role as a proponent of peace and stability in the region, as well as attesting to ASEAN’s centrality to resolving issues in the disputed waters.
“[Indonesia] sees that peace and stability in the region is absolute, because in the past few decades, it is what has been the main contributing factor for countries in the region to develop rapidly,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir said on Thursday during a press briefing in Jakarta.
ASEAN’s centrality is of high importance in the effort to maintain peaceful conditions in the Southeast Asian region, he reiterated. The ratification of a number of regional frameworks was proof, he added, citing examples such as the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality and Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC).
Indonesia also urged parties involved in the dispute to exercise self-restraint and respect applicable international laws, most relevantly, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Arrmanatha stressed that the country’s stance was based on its status as a non-claimant to the disputed area.
The statement followed Chinese experts on the South China Sea criticizing Indonesia’s statement on the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling in favor of the Philippines in its case against China’s claim to the resource-rich waters. The criticism suggested that Indonesia had departed from the impartial and objective stance it once held in the past, while also accusing the Philippines of undermining ASEAN’s centrality in the region. (rin)