Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi shakes hands with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Friday. Photo: REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

Indonesia asks Japan to invest in islands near waters disputed with China


Indonesia's President Joko Widodo on Friday asked Japan to step up investment in fisheries and energy in some of its South China Sea islands following a stand-off with China in waters that China claims in the area.

Widodo made the request for Japan to consider economic opportunities in the Natuna islands during a visit to Jakarta by Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, the president's office said in a statement.

"I want to invite Japan to invest in Natuna," he told Motegi, adding that Japan was one of Indonesia's major economic partners.

Widodo visited Natuna on Wednesday to assert Indonesia's sovereignty over the cluster of islands and the waters around them, after reports Chinese coastguard and fishing vessels had entered Indonesia's exclusive economic zone several times since last month.

China has not claimed the Natuna islands themselves but says it has nearby fishing rights within a self-proclaimed Nine-Dash Line - a line on Chinese maps that it says shows its territory and waters.

The line loops far south from China and includes most of the South China Sea, but it is a claim that is not recognized internationally. Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan have rival claims in the South China Sea.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters Widodo had asked Japan to invest in fisheries, energy and tourism in Natuna.

"We also agreed to strengthen coastguard coordination," he said.

Indonesia had stepped up air and sea patrols in the area and summoned China's ambassador over the appearance of the ships. An Indonesian military spokesman said the vessels left the area after Widodo's trip.

China says it is in contact with Indonesia through diplomatic channels to resolve differences and uphold stability in the region.

Motegi, speaking through a translator after a meeting with Marsudi, did not refer to China but said Japan was wary about the situation in the South China.

"We shared a serious concern regarding efforts to change with force the status quo unilaterally and we confirmed continuing close collaboration," he said.

Japan last year gave Indonesia 100 billion rupiah ($7.26 million) to build a fish market in Natuna, which will be named Tsukiji after the famous Tokyo market, media reported.

Construction of the market in Natuna, and markets on other Indonesian islands, will begin this year, Motegi said.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Japan should ally with its neighbors against bullying.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Two hundred million people can do it themselves. Jokowi's campaign was based on “Indonesia advancing”.

Now he's asking a nation miles away to help out.

Weak leadership.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Indonesia, like other SE Asian nations are simply worried about China, the world's most powerful dictatorship, infringing upon their territory.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I don't agree with communist ideology.

Dont agree with Xi president for life.

Dont agree with the social credit system.

Treatment of Muslims and Tibet should be better.

Lets look at the other side too...


Supposed friend of Japan yet they forced Plaza acord on Japan in the mid 80s crippling our economy for decades.

Has forced article 9 on Japan while out of the 300 years of America's existence only 28 they are at peace with no war.

Had nuclear weapons first, used them, never banned them afterwards. We live in a more dangerous nuclear bomb world because of it.

Started wars in Middle East, East Asia, South China sea countries.

They dont believe in climate change and their doing very little to lead the world or address the problem within just the U.S.

America always gets a pass for its mistakes, for its crimes, laws they break.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

AlexBecuToday 01:31 am JST


They dont believe in climate change and their doing very little to lead the world or address the problem within just the U.S.

No, most Americans are not stupid. Just because we have an idiot in the White House right now please do not paint all of America in his image.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Having an ally strengthen any effort of an individual.

I believe Japan should spread it's wings in having more Asian country as an ally other than relying on ( and paying trillions of yen) America for help and support.

China has been infiltrating most countries in the world and no one knows how to equalize or beat their strategy. It has been obvious though they always buy off lands and build huge buildings with most Chinese workers in it.

Indonesia isn't that greedy ( or scary ) yet and has a potential for a great partnership that could be useful for Japan. Consider this request before they ( Indo) become a country that better in taking than giving.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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