Indonesia sees no legal reason to negotiate maritime boundaries, rights with China

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The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations (UN) said, in a diplomatic letter sent to UN Secretary General António Guterres dated June 12, that the government of Indonesia “sees no legal reasoning under international law, particularly UNCLOS 1982, to conduct negotiation on maritime boundaries delimitation with the People’s Republic of China or on any other matters pertaining to maritime rights or interests’ claims made in contravention to international law.”

The letter was sent in response to circular note of the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China No. CML/46/2020 dated June 2, 2020 concerning the response of the Government of the People’s Republic of China toward Indonesia’s note verbale of May 26, 2020.

In China’s CML/46/2020 note dated June 2, 2020, it said that “there is no territorial dispute between China and Indonesia in the South China Sea. However, China and Indonesia have overlapping claims on maritime rights and interests in some parts of the South China Sea.”

“China is willing to settle the overlapping claims through negotiation and consultation with Indonesia, and work together with Indonesia to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea,” China added.

Indonesia’s diplomatic letter also noted that “no feature in the Spratly Islands is entitled to an Exclusive Economic Zone or Continental Shelf of its own, hence no feature therefrom will generate overlapping maritime entitlement with Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone or Continental Shelf.”

“No historic rights exist in Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf vis-à-vis the People’s Republic of China. Should there be any historic rights existing prior to the entry into force of UNCLOS 1982, those rights were superseded by the provisions of UNCLOS 1982,” Indonesia added.