Indonesia fires Chinese vessels in South China Sea

20 Jun 2016 | By Divya
South China Sea flares up again

Tension flared up over the South China Sea as an Indonesian navy vessel fired at Chinese fishing boats for fishing illegally in its claimed exclusive economic zone.

The Indonesian warship fired warning shots after spotting 12 foreign vessels near Natuna Island in the South China Sea.

According to China's foreign ministry, Indonesia also seized China's vessel carrying seven crew members and injuring one.

In context: South China Sea flares up again

SCS The South China Sea: An overview

South China Sea is a part of Pacific Ocean, surrounded by China, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia and the Philippines.

The sea holds a strategic location and rich reservoirs of natural resorces, making it a vital lifeline for neighbouring countries.

In addition, almost 1/3rd of global shipping trade passes through the SCS, making it economically important..

The second 'Persian Gulf'

Some Chinese observers have called the South China Sea as the Second "Persian Gulf" for it has an estimated oil reserve of 213 billion barrels- 10 times the estimated reserves of the US.
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What is the conflict about?

The ConflictWhat is the conflict about?

Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam are involved in a long standing territorial dispute over the region.

China cites historical claims to almost the entire SCS, including reefs and island chains.

Other countries claim parts of the region citing the UNCLOS.

China has even built artificial islands and airstrips to bring military supplies to the region, if needed.

What is the UNCLOS?

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is an international treaty that governs the actions of nations in the world's oceans. It sets rules for establishing the extent of a country's exclusive economic zones and is used to resolve maritime disputes.

Indonesia, ChinaIndonesia and China face off in the SCS

In May 2010, Chinese and Indonesian naval ships seized control of each other's fishing vessels for alleged illegal fishing.

In June 2010, Indonesian naval patrol boats confronted Chinese fishing vessels near the Natuna Islands.

In March 2016, Indonesia rejected China's demand of releasing eight fishermen accused of illegal fishing.

In 2016, three confrontations have already been reported between the two nations.

20 Jun 2016Indonesia fires Chinese vessels in South China Sea

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China protestsChina cries foul over Indonesia's actions

China condemned Indonesia's actions in South China Sea calling them a violation of international laws including the UNCLOS.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry lambasted Indonesia and issued a statement saying "China strongly protests and condemns such excessive use of force."

China also accused Indonesia of "harassment" of fishermen due to the injuries and destruction of property caused by the Indonesian navy.