World View: Indonesia Upgrades Military Base to Confront China

World View: Indonesia Upgrades Military Base to Confront China

This morning’s key headlines from

  • NATO says that Russia is preparing for an invasion of Ukraine
  • Indonesia upgrades military base to confront China

NATO says that Russia is preparing for an invasion of Ukraine

NATO has released satellite photos, taken between March 22 and April2, that show the extent of Russia’s military mobilization on itsborder with Ukraine — including fighter jets, tanks, artillery andthousands of soldiers who are prepared to invade within 12 hours ifcalled upon. Nato estimates that there are 40,000 troops massed atvarious locations along the Ukrainian border, at more than 100different site.

Russia is claiming that the photos are doctored or are old photos,which Nato says is “categorically false.” According to Russia’sforeign ministry:

The US and Ukraine have no reason to worry. Russia hassaid several times that it is not conducting any unusual orunplanned military activity on its territory near the Ukrainianborder. …

Everyday activity by Russian forces on its national territory doesnot threaten the security of the United States of America or otherOSCE member states.

The attempts to accuse Russia of building up armed forces aregroundless.”

CNN and Ria Novosti

Indonesia upgrades military base to confront China

Indonesia is joining Vietnam, the Philippines and other regionalcountries to increase their military capabilities in preparation foran invitable military conflict with China. China has been adopting asovereign territory, including regions that have historically belongedto Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, often forcenturies. According to China, these countries have no rights toanything outside their 12-mile territorial seas, while China has theright to annex everything in sight. China has already used its vastmilitary power to forcibly annex territories belonging to Vietnam andthe Philippines, and has militarily threatened islands belonging toMalaysia. (See “29-Jan-14 World View — China’s military moves to seize Malaysia’s James Shoal”)

China has also claimed regions belonging to Indonesia, but Indonesianofficials have avoided talking about it, for fear of upsetting theChinese. But now Indonesia is beefing up its its military base on theRiau Islands, which borders the South China Sea, to accommodate largerfighter aircraft. China has particularly claimed the Natuna Seas,which are strategically located at the southern tip of Malacca Strait,and which are thought to contain 1.1 trillion cubic feet of naturalgas.

According to an Indonesian military official:

“China has claimed Natuna waters as their territorialwaters. This arbitrary claim is related to the dispute overSpratly and Paracel Islands between China and the Philippines.This dispute will have a large impact on the security of Natunawaters.”

Indonesia’s government is playing down the dispute, but much of theupgrade work on the airbase has already been completed. Jakarta’sstrategy is to develop a “Minimum Essential Force” (MEF), which is theminimum scale of military capabilities that Indonesia should seek todeploy in response to a strategic threat. Janes Military Capabilities and The Diplomat and Jakarta Globe (3/13)

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