Indonesia Offers Natuna Islands to the US Through Investment

31 Oktober 2020 | 09:48 WIB Last Updated 2020-10-31T02:50:54Z
Indonesia Offers Natuna Islands to the US Through Investment

SUARA NEGERI ■ Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) patrol boats often disturb Indonesia by entering the maritime Natuna Islands, which is the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

They argued that the area was included in the free zone due to the claims of the nine dash line. The Indonesian military cannot do much. Indonesian guard ships can only try to expel them.

Regarding this, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that he rejected various maritime claims in these waters. He also offered a "Base" in the Natuna Islands to the US through investment.

He said that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) is a legal reference that must be applied and respected by all countries.

This attitude is in line with US efforts to challenge China's claims. In fact, the two countries have agreed to work together to protect the resilience of the LCS.

"Therefore, any claim must be based on universally recognized principles of international law including the 1982 UNCLOS," he stressed.

One way to solve this problem is by inviting investors to join Natuna.

This is what Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi did by inviting US (US) investors to invest in the Natuna Islands. He conveyed this statement to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Indonesia.

"I encourage US businessmen to invest more in Indonesia, including for projects on the outer islands of Indonesia, such as Natuna Island," he said in a press conference, Thursday, October 29, 2020.

With this step, Indonesia no longer needs to be "busy" with territorial violations. Because if the US agrees, the US naval fleet in the Indo Pacific will guard it tightly.

China will also think long enough to enter the region. Because the US far has a military advantage over Indonesia.

On the other hand, Indonesia can reap the benefits of this US investment. Moreover, the US does have an interest in having a "base" in the region.

The US is indeed one of Indonesia's main investors. The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) recorded US investment in Indonesia of 279 million US dollars in the third quarter of 2020 for 417 projects. With this amount, the US occupies the position of 7 countries with the largest investment.

In addition to inviting US investment to Natuna, Retno also mentioned the extension of the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) incentive reduction facility.

He said the provision of these facilities could strengthen global supply chains and accelerate economic recovery.

"In this regard, I again underline the importance of the GSP facility, which not only brings benefits to Indonesia but also US businesses," he said.

GSP is a facility for import duties on export products of recipient countries provided by developed countries to help developing country economies.

So far, Indonesia has received this relief from the US. However, early last year the US had removed Indonesia from the list of developing countries.

Currently, Indonesia is waiting for the results of a review conducted by the US government through the United States Representative (USTR) regarding the provision of GSP facilities.

It should be noted that the Natuna Islands are under threat from the South China Sea (SCS) conflict. The conflict heats up after China unilaterally claims 90 percent of the SCS waters. (red/07)

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  • Indonesia Offers Natuna Islands to the US Through Investment

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