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Indonesia Deploys Fighter Jets To South China Sea Amid Tensions With China

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

The stand-off began last month when Beijing sent a coast guard vessel and commercial fishing boats to the disputed waters off the coast of Indonesia’s northern Natuna islands.

Indonesia Deploys Fighter Jets To South China Sea Amid Tensions With China

Fajar Adriyanto, the air force spokesman, said four F-16 fighter jets have been conducting flight missions over the islands as a deterrent against China.

“They’re doing standard patrols to protect our sovereign area. It just so happened that they’re patrolling Natuna,” Adriyanto said. “We don’t have the order to start a war with China.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Monday that increased Chinese vessels in the disputed waters is a direct violation of international law.

Widodo said there’s no negotiation with China when it comes “to our sovereignty.”

In the last week, the Indonesian Navy has ramped up patrols in the same region that is known for vast natural resources, reported Channel News Asia.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday Beijing had “opened diplomatic channels” with Indonesia since the stand-off began, and said “both countries shoulder responsibility for maintaining regional peace and stability.”

Reuters notes that ship tracker data shows at least two Chinese ships, Zhongguohaijing and Haijing 3511, were on the edge of Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone on Tuesday. Both ships were located on China’s “nine-dash line.”

This isn’t the first time both countries have faced a stand-off near Natuna. Indonesia has, for years, deterred Chinese vessels from the region, it’s just this time Indonesia has deployed fighter jets as a response to China’s aggression.

What can possibly go wrong at a time when the Middle East is on the verge of war?

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