Indonesia Protested to China Over Passports Last Year

Indonesia's foreign minister has said that the Southeast Asian nation protested to China about a controversial map printed in Chinese passports last year which claimed almost all of the South China Sea, the Financial Times reported Friday on its website.

Beijing has become increasingly assertive in its claims over large swathes of the South China Sea, including islands and shoals which are also claimed by several Asean members and Taiwan. The controversial "nine-dash line" printed in its passports represents the extent of China's claim over South China Sea in a map it submitted to the U.N.

Indonesia hadn't issued a public statement that time, even though the nine-dash line cuts through its so-called Exclusive Economic Zone in the gas-rich Natuna Sea, where companies including ExxonMobil Corp. and Total SA operate, the FT report said.

However, Indonesia's foreign minister Marty Natalegawa said they did in fact protest to Beijing "several weeks" after the new passports were issued, and had sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese embassy in Jakarta, according to the FT.

"We exercised nice low key diplomacy but getting our point across," Mr. Natalegawa said in the report.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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