Japan provides ships to Indonesia amid PRC incursions

Japan provides ships to Indonesia amid PRC incursions

Top Stories | Mar 10, 2020:

The Associated Press

Japan is transferring a 27-year-old ship to Indonesia and providing funds to upgrade its Coast Guard, which will enable Indonesia to better guard against poaching in its South China Sea fisheries amid recent Chinese incursions.

Japan was providing the 741-ton Hakurei Maru as part of an effort to promote its “free and open Indo-Pacific strategy,” Kazuhiko Shimizu, economic counselor at the Japanese Embassy in Indonesia, was quoted as telling reporters in February 2020.

Built in 1993, the ship is 63 meters long and has berths for 29 people.

“Recently, Indonesia has suffered some losses due to illegal fishing,” Shimizu was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency, noting that Indonesia’s Fisheries Ministry now lacks an ocean-going vessel of comparable size. Japan will also provide a 2.2 billion yen (U.S. $20 million) grant to help Indonesia upgrade its existing coast guard vessels.

The People’s Republic of China insists Chinese fishermen are free to conduct activities in their “traditional fishing ground,” which partly overlaps with Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone around its Natuna island group. Chinese fishermen have since December 2019 operated in the area, escorted by boats from the Chinese coast guard.