Natuna Islands


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Natuna Islands,

island group (2010 pop. 69,300), 769 sq mi (1,993 sq km), Riau prov., Indonesia, in the South China Sea between the Malay Peninsula (W) and Borneo (E). The more than 250 islands are part of the larger Tudjuh Archipelago; Bunguran is the largest island. The islands' products include timber and coconuts. There are large reserves of natural gas offshore in Indonesia's exclusive economic zone, which has led to tensions with China, which has asserted claims to much of the South China SeaSouth China Sea,
western arm of the Pacific Ocean, c.1,000,000 sq mi (2,590,000 sq km), between the SE Asian mainland and Taiwan, the Philippines, and Borneo. It is connected with the East China Sea by the Taiwan Strait.
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References in periodicals archive ?
According to ReCAAP, the waters around the remote Natuna Islands, which sit between peninsular Malaysia and Borneo but belong to Indonesia, are a hot spot for piracy and illegal fuel transfers.
In the absence of support from the Philippines, Vietnam has sought to improve ties with Indonesia, which has shown signs of pushing back against Chinese encroachment near the Natuna Islands that Beijing claims are part of its traditional fishing grounds.
Indonesia claims not to be directly involved in South China Sea disputes, but has shown a resolve to protect its territory by fortifying the Natuna Islands and blowing up Chinese boats fishing illegally in its waters.
Indonesiainsists it's a non-claimant state in the South China Sea dispute but has clashed with China over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands, detaining Chinese fishermen and expanding its military presence in the area over the past 18 months.
Last month, Widodo commented on the possibility of joint patrols in the South China Sea - mostly Indonesia's Natuna Islands.
Upon closer examination, however, the statement appears to be yet another example of Indonesia's inconsistent approach to the South China Sea, as well as to increasing encroachments by China into the country's 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around the Natuna Islands.
A case in point is Indonesian President Joko Widodo's recent visit to the Natuna Islands on a warship, a show of force in response to incursions there by Chinese fishermen and Navy vessels.
Indonesia's navy said it had fired warning shots at several boats with Chinese flags that it accused of fishing illegally near the Natuna Islands - but a spokesman told Reuters there had been no injuries.
Global Asia notes that even though China has not made a formal claim on the Natuna Islands, its "vague and ever expanding Nine Dash Line" certainly includes them on the map as part of the area China claims.
The Chevron (Caltex) area of operation is part of Riau province, in West Sumatra, which also over-sees the administration of Natuna islands.
Presently, Singapore controls the airspace above several Indonesian territories, to include Batam, Natuna islands, and also Dumai in Riau.
There is a further dispute in the waters near the Indonesian Natuna Islands.