August 15, 2016 — 6:00 PM EDT
Indonesian navy assemble bombs to destroy seven seized fishing boats in Batam, Kepulauan Riau province on Feb. 22, 2016. Photographer: Sei Ratifa/AFP via Getty Images
Indonesia will cap Wednesday’s Independence Day celebrations by scuttling as many as 71 impounded foreign vessels — mostly Vietnamese but also a handful of Chinese — to signal its determination to protect its sovereignty over lucrative fishing grounds in the South China Sea.
The destruction of the boats comes amid simmering regional tensions over territorial disputes in the water. Former Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa said the main challenge facing the country was to ensure the message wasn’t misinterpreted.
Natalegawa said the signal has to be conveyed that Indonesia is determined to protect its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. “But some of the risk in our region nowadays is precisely the…
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