Indonesia to summon Chinese envoy over illegal fishing in South China Sea

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Beijing, Mar. 21 (ANI): Indonesian Minister for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Susi Pudjiastuti, has said that she would summon Chinese envoy Xie Feng over a standoff involving a trawler in the South China Sea.

Susi will be summoning Xie on Monday to discuss a Chinese fishing trawler accused of illegally fishing in Indonesian waters, which experts say will alter its foreign policy.

“We will summon the Chinese ambassador to discuss the issue [on Monday]. We respect China, but we must also maintain our sovereignty,” the Jakarta Post quoting him as saying, Guardian reports.

According to reports, the Indonesian authorities attempted to capture the Chinese trawler on Saturday and arrest the crew, but were stopped by the Chinese coast guard boat that reportedly rammed the trawler and pushed it back into the South China Sea.

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Susi further said that we want to avoid a much more serious incident, adding that the arrested crew members would assist in investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry disputed Indonesia’s version of events and issued a statement that said the trawler was operating in traditional Chinese fishing grounds before being attacked and harassed by an armed Indonesian ship, prompting the Chinese coast guard to offer assistance.

The Foreign Ministry also demanded Indonesia to release its detained Chinese fishermen and ensure their personal safety.

The incident reportedly took place about few kilometers off Indonesia’s Natuna islands, off the north-west coast of Borneo in the South China Sea.

There have been similar incidents in the past involving Chinese and Indonesia boats near the Natuna islands. However, Indonesia always kept the maritime clashes low concerning that it could disrupt relations. (ANI)

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