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Indonesia rejects Beijing's South China Sea claims

Indonesia raises 2016 Hague ruling in letter to head of UN, expressing opposition to China’s nine-dash line

Filipinos protest against Beijing's claims in South China Sea. 

Filipinos protest against Beijing's claims in South China Sea.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Indonesia has rejected China's territorial claims in the South China Sea by raising the 2016 Hague ruling in its letter to the United Nations earlier this week.

In a letter addressed to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday (May 26), Indonesia pointed out the "nine-dash line" issued by Beijing "lacks international legal basis" and contradicts the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982). It added that the nine-dash line map, which encroached on the economic zones of several Southeast Asian countries, is fictitious and does not give China sovereignty over the area.

The Indonesian government also mentioned a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which the Philippines won, against China’s claims that it has a historic right to the maritime region. Indonesia urged "full compliance towards international law" and declared that it was not bound by any claims "made in contravention" to global legal agreements, reported Radio Free Asia.

Asia maritime expert Gregory Poling of the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said Indonesia's letter was significant because none of the Philippines' neighbors had explicitly backed its 2016win against China. Prior to this, other Southeast Asian states had only implied their support for fear of getting involved in territorial disputes, according to Storm Media.

Indonesia rejects Beijing's South China Sea claims
Beijing's nine-dash line encompasses most of the South China Sea. (Wikimedia Commons photo)