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On June 18, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said there was no reason to negotiate with China on fishing activities around the Natuna archipelago.

Indonesia has no way to prevent Chinese incursions in the Natuna Sea, which borders the southwestern edge of the South China Sea, at least on its own.

The latest incident occurred in December, when Chinese vessels entered the Natuna Sea, prompting Indonesia to deploy fighter jets and warships in the area.

Indonesian F-16 fighter jet flies above the nation’s naval ship in the Natuna Sea on January 10: Indonesia has no way to prevent Chinese incursions at least on its own.

Unity and coordination among the 10 members of ASEAN on the South China Sea issue would certainly help deter China’s assertiveness, but it is a long shot at the moment.

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