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(Opinion) Indonesia: Playing With Fire in the South China Sea

2014-12-19 08:54:38       source:The Diplomat

By Carl Thayer

December 18, 2014

"On December 5 newly installed President Joko Widodo ordered Indonesian authorities to set fire to and sink three Vietnamese boats caught fishing illegally in waters near the Anambas Islands. This incident was covered by the media and given widespread publicity.

The following day Indonesia officially announced its new policy of "shock therapy" for illegal poachers. President Widodo told Antara News Agency, "We sunk three of them on Friday to teach them a lesson, so that they will give up poaching in Indonesian waters." According to Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Indonesia intended to demonstrate "stern government action" and would sink five Thai fishing boats seized near West Kalimantan after President Widodo announced his get-tough policy."

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