24 Indonesian warships practice in the East Sea 424 Indonesian warships practice in the East Sea 4

24 Indonesian navy warships, including two destroyers and 4 corvettes, participated in a 4-day exercise near the Natuna Islands, south of the East Sea, in mid-week.

`The army’s combat readiness is not affected even when Covid-19 is raging,` said Rear Admiral Ahmadi Heri Purwono, head of the Indonesian Navy’s 1st Fleet Command.

Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone around the Natuna Islands overlaps with the `9-dash line` China unilaterally drew in the East Sea to claim unreasonable sovereignty over most of the area.

The exercise near Natuna aims to build strategic options and capabilities to protect the archipelago, the Indonesian navy said in a statement.

Indonesian navy soldiers stand in front of the patrol ship KRI Layaran at Batu Ampar port, Batam, Riau Islands, January 2017.

In May, the Indonesian Permanent Mission sent a letter to Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the United Nations Department of Marine Affairs and Law of the Sea to refute China’s `9-dash line` claim.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, when issuing a statement on July 13 rejecting most of China’s claims in the East Sea, affirmed that the Natuna Islands are an area `outside China’s jurisdiction`.

On July 23, Australia also submitted a note to the United Nations, affirming that `there is no legal basis for China’s territorial and maritime claims in the East Sea`, rejecting China’s claims.

China has recently deployed many drastic activities after Covid-19 to put pressure on surrounding countries and territories.

The US sent many aircraft carriers and warships to conduct exercises in the East Sea and surrounding areas, and some countries such as Japan and Australia also sent warships to participate.

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