Naval Standoff Between Indonesia, Malaysia

Naval Standoff Between Indonesia, Malaysia

A revived maritime dispute between Indonesia and Malaysia has led to a series of chest-thumping incursions and face-offs between the two countries' navies.

The stand-off reached its zenith, for now, after the Indonesian Navy reported Malaysian warships had entered the oil-rich Ambalat area off the Borneo coast several times over the last two weeks. The provocations almost crossed the line into conflict, with an Indonesian vessel reportedly coming close to firing at one of the Malaysian ships.

However, with both sides pointing the finger at the other, apportioning blame for the crisis is difficult. Indonesia claims that the Ambalat oil concession block, which covers about 15,235 square kilometers in the Sulawesi Sea, is an undisputed part of Indonesia, based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

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