China's Ambassador Regarding Natuna: Friends with Different Views

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - In response to the recent dispute over the Northern Natuna Sea border, Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian likens the bilateral relations between Indonesia and China as “two friends who share different views.” 

    “China and Indonesia, we are friendly countries and we have wonderful relationships that cover so many areas,” said Ambassador Xiao Qian in his visit at the IDX today, January 8. 

    Xiao proclaims the Chinese government has established good diplomatic communication with the Indonesian government in order to solve the maritime border issue in Natuna. 

    “But even with good friends we might have some different views but we can solve this problem through diplomatic channels,” said Xiao. “I think the problem will be solved properly.”

    In terms of potentially hampering investments between the two countries, Xiao Qian concisely assures that this matter of sovereignty will not obstruct both the country’s economic relations. 

    Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who was also met at the IDX on Wednesday, says there will be no frictions between China and Indonesia as the byproduct of the contrasting views regarding Natuna. 

    Luhut only cites President Jokowi’s statement who asserted the border dispute must not be linked to Indonesia’s sovereignty and investments. “It has nothing to do with investments. Sovereignty is sovereignty.”

    On a different note, Minister Luhut Pandjaitan also called for Indonesian fishermen to increase its activities in North Natuna and said the government will push for developments of infrastructures for local fishermen.

    FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA