Indonesia has no conflict with China in South China Sea: palace spokesman

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia has no conflict with China over the South China Sea, an Indonesian palace spokesman said on Wednesday, days after eight Chinese crew members were detained for allegedly fishing illegally in the Natuna Sea.

“There is no conflict between Indonesia and China related to the South China Sea,” said presidential spokesman Johan Budi told reporters. “This is purely the enforcement of law by Indonesia, and we have already conveyed our letter of protest.”

The Natuna Sea is an area between Peninsular Malaysia and the Malaysian province of Sarawak on Borneo island, at the southern end of the South China Sea.

Indonesia has raised concerns in the past that China’s claims in the South China Sea include waters near the Natuna Islands. China has accepted Indonesia’s sovereignty over the islands.

Indonesia earlier this week protested what it called an infringement by China over its sovereignty in an incident involving an Indonesian patrol boat, and a Chinese coastguard vessel and fishing boat.

Reporting by the Jakarta bureau; Editing by Nick Macfie