- Title: Amid South China Sea uncertainty, Indonesia stages a show of force
- Date: 7th October 2016
- Summary: RANAI, RIAU ISLANDS PROVINCE, INDONESIA (OCTOBER 6, 2016) (REUTERS) PRESIDENTIAL PLANE PARKED ON TARMAC OF RANAI AIRPORT INDONESIA PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO AND WIFE, IRIANA WALKING DOWN THE PLANE'S STAIR WIDODO AND WIFE SHAKING HAND WITH LOCAL AUTHORITIES, VARIOUS
- Embargoed: 22nd October 2016 04:19
- Keywords: Military exercise Indonesia Natuna South China Sea
- Location: RANAI, RIAU ISLANDS PROVINCE, INDONESIA
- City: RANAI, RIAU ISLANDS PROVINCE, INDONESIA
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Defence,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00153094QT
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Indonesian warplanes on Thursday (October 6) staged a large-scale exercise on the edge of the South China Sea, a territory which Beijing said it has "overlapping claims".
President Joko Widodo watched from Ranai, the capital of the Natuna Islands archipelago, together with hundreds of military officials as about 70 jets carried out manoeuvres that included a dog fight and dropping bombs on targets off the coast.
"The president has a policy that all the outer islands that are strategic will be strengthened, be it air, maritime or land," Gatot Nurmantyo, commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces, told reporters.
"Our country needs to have an umbrella. From corner to corner, we have to safeguard it." he added.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters in Ranai that the exercise was "routine", but it was also Indonesia's biggest so far and follows a move by Widodo in June to hold a cabinet meeting on board a warship off the Natuna islands.
"Like I already said, this is part of routine military exercise that we have done," Marsudi told media.
Indonesian officials described Widodo's visit at that time as a strong message to Beijing following a spate of face-offs between Indonesia's navy and Chinese fishing boats in the gas-rich southern end of the South China Sea.
China, while not disputing Indonesia's claims to the Natuna islands, has raised Indonesian anger by saying the two countries had "overlapping claims" to waters close to them, an area Indonesia calls the Natuna Sea.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion worth of trade passes each year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the sea.
While Indonesia is not part of the dispute over the South China Sea, it objects to China's inclusion of waters around the Natuna Islands within its 'nine-dash line', a demarcation line used by China to show its claims there.
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