South China Sea Dispute; Retno Marsudi Requests for Peace Paradigm

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internship

Editor

Laila Afifa

29 November 2022 17:25 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, highlighted the increasing geopolitical tensions in the maritime territory, causing more challenges to the enforcement of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or Law of the Sea Treaty (UNCLOS). According to her, ASEAN always aims to resolve disputes such as in the South China Sea, through non-military confrontation.

"UNCLOS is the key to achieving this goal. However, the effective approach requires a paradigm that encourages peaceful dispute resolution," said Retno who joined virtually at the opening of the ASEAN Conference on 40 Years of UNCLOS on Tuesday, November 29, 2022.

The South China Sea is a strategic area bordering Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and China. The area has become overlapping jurisdiction between claimant states such as Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and China, which makes the potential for conflict in this region become concerning.

Recently, China and the Philippines have been clashing over the area. The Philippines accused a Chinese coast guard ship of seizing rocket debris secured by the Philippines in the South China Sea. Beijing has denied the claim.

The mutual accusations between Beijing and Manila occurred during the visit of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to the Philippines, US also guaranteed to aid the Philippines militarily.

During her speech at the UNCLOS forum, Retno reflected on the statement from Indonesian President Joko Widodo that the zone should be seen as a uniting factor, not as to divide. He said international law must still be respected.

"The state must continue to comply with international law, including UNCLOS which must maintain as the main norm that shapes state behavior at sea border," said Retno.

UNCLOS binds nations to a standard technique for identifying various areas of the sea, including internal and territorial waters, contiguous zones, exclusive economic zones, and the continental shelf. In the case of overlapping maritime zones between neighboring states, countries must negotiate the boundary lines.

UNCLOS must face challenges of the geopolitical tensions with the potential to increase the risk of escalation to open conflict.

Daniel Ahmad | Translator: Intern / Imaji Lasahido

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