Jakarta. Indonesia's chief security minister has ordered the newly installed Navy and Air Force chiefs to protect Indonesia's sovereignty by improving border security in the North Natuna Sea, a disputed territory with China.
Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud M.D. received the new Navy chief of staff Adm. Yudo Margono and the new Air Force commander Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo at the ministry's headquarters in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Mahfud asked the Navy chief of staff to pay particular attention to the North Natuna Sea by intensifying patrols in the area.
"The new Navy chief of staff must ensure the safety of our fishermen in Natuna and continue to protect our sovereignty in the area," he said.
In January, the Indonesian Military (TNI) was involved in a standoff with China's coast guards who escorted Chinese fishing boats into Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Indonesia has sovereign rights over the EEZ granted by international law through the 1982 United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
In January, Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan confirmed the government was speeding up the construction of a sanctuary for Indonesian fishermen in the North Natuna Sea.
He also confirmed a plan to buy bigger boats for the Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) to expand its patrol reach.
And in March, Mafhud revealed Indonesia was going to send 30 large fishing vessels from the northern Javanese coast – an area known locally as Pantura – to the North Natuna Sea to help assert the country's sovereignty over the territory.
Message to Air Force: Protect Our Borders
Mahfud also ordered the new Air Force commander to strengthen security in Indonesia's border areas.
"To continue protecting our sovereignty from the air despite limited resources has been nothing short of remarkable. I hope the Air Force maintain its fighting spirit," Mahfud said.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo swore in Yudo and Fadjar to their new positions in a ceremony at the State Palace in Central Jakarta on May 20.
Yudo, 54, replaced Siwi Sukma Adji who entered retirement this month. Fadjar, also 54, took over from the retiring Yuyu Sutisna.