Indonesia declares more outermost islands

The Jakarta Post 12 Mar 17;

In an effort to protect the country's border areas against foreign territorial claims, the government has declared 111 outer islands, which include some previously not stated as border areas.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti welcomed Presidential Decree No. 6/2017 on outermost islands, the new regulation signed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, which revises a 2005 decree that only named 92 islands.

The newly mentioned islands include Bintan and Berakit in the province of Riau Islands and Nusa Penida in Bali.

“The enactment of these [111] islands is to prevent issues of occupation or claims of possession by other nations,” said Susi on Saturday, as quoted by tribunnews.com.

The latest government move comes after several disputes over peripheral islands with neighboring countries Malaysia and Singapore.

Last year, Indonesia was also involved in a spat with China over fishing activities in waters near Natuna Island.

The government, according to Susi, will keep close watch over the 111 islands to prevent activities like drug smuggling, human trafficking and illegal fishing.

The minister also expressed her hope that natural resources in the outermost and remote islands could be utilized in the interest of the local people and the government. (mrc/wit)

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