JAKARTA, INDONESIA — Tensions are mounting between Indonesia and China after the former summoned China's ambassador on Monday over a standoff involving a Chinese fishing boat in disputed waters of the South China Sea.
Indonesia claims on Saturday a Chinese fishing boat was illegally fishing just 4.34 km off the coast of Indonesia's Natuna islands, northwest of Borneo in the South China Sea, which was inside the country's exclusive economic zone.
"We respect China, but we must also maintain our sovereignty," the Jakarta Globe quoted Susi Pudjiastuti, Indonesia's Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs as saying.
According to the Jakarta Globe, three officials managed to embark the vessel and arrested eight crew members before a Chinese coast guard vessel intervened and rammed the boat back into the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, China claims the fishing boat was in the country's conventional fishing waters but was attacked and harassed by armed Indonesian vessels. Consequently, a Chinese coast guard ship went to its aid.
China's foreign ministry urged Indonesia to immediately release the Chinese fishermen and to assure their safety.