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Indonesia Comments on China Staking Territorial Claim on 2023 Standard Map

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi commented on the newly published China‘s 2023 standard map which has previously been protested by India and Malaysia over territorial claims.

Minister Retno said that the drawing of territorial lines, including China’s standard map, must be in accordance with international laws.

“The drawing of any [territorial] lines, any claims, must be in accordance with UNCLOS 1982 (the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” she claimed after a meeting with Commission I of the House of Representatives in Jakarta on Thursday, August 31, 2023.

China’s standard map was published by the Ministry of Natural Resources on Monday, August 28, 2023. The map staked a claim over territories of India, Malaysian waters, and adjacent to Indonesia.

Retno said Indonesia’s position on the matter of territorial sovereignty has always been consistent.

On Wednesday, August 30, 2023, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin asked other countries to refrain from ‘over-interpreting’ the map. 

“We hope relevant sides can stay objective and calm, and refrain from over-interpreting the issue,” said Wang Wenbin in a press briefing in Beijing, China.

In the newly published map, China’s territorial claim crossed the maritime exclusive zones of Malaysia near Sabah and Sarawak, and several other countries such as Brunei, the Phillippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam. According to UNCLOS 1982, states are authorized to conduct exploration and exploitation, conservation, and management of biotic and abiotic natural resources.

Previously, Malaysia rejected the standard map which showed China’s unilateral claim over Malaysia’s territory according to the 1979 Malaysia Map. India also issued a strong protest against China’s claim through the diplomatic channel.