Indonesia condemns Australia navy incursion into its waters: The Indonesian government on Friday said it “deplored” the incursion into its territorial waters by the Australian navy.
Australia had earlier apologized for the encroachment, saying it occurred inadvertently and without the knowledge or consent of the Australian government.
Indonesia withdrew an earlier statement that expressed deep regret over the incidents. The language was stronger in the new statement.
“The government of Indonesia deplores and rejects the violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity by Australian vessels,” Agus Barnas, a spokesman for the security and political affairs coordinating ministry, told reporters.
Indonesia demanded assurances that such incidents would not be repeated, said reports.
“The government of Indonesia underlines that any such violations… constitute a serious matter in bilateral relations of the two countries,” noted spokesman Barnas.
The Australian territorial actions were done in order to turn back asylum seekers.
Indonesia said it will increase its naval patrols to counter the Australian actions, and urged its neighbour to halt operations that risked further incursions.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop offered her Indonesian counterpart “an unqualified apology” for the encroachment, and also gave “an assurance that such a breach of Indonesian territorial waters would not re-occur”.
But Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the incident won’t “get in the way of doing the job we were elected to: which is to stop the boats.”
The policy of Australia’s new conservative government which came into power in September of 2013 is that asylum-seekers who arrive in Australia by boat are sent to Pacific island camps for processing with no chance of settlement in Australia, and boats intercepted at sea are sent back to Indonesia.
Indonesia has been angered by the policy, saying it could infringe on its sovereignty.
Australia argues that many of the boat people who try to reach its shores pay people smugglers in Indonesia, and has asked the Indonesian government to be more diligent in addressing this issue.
Relations between the two countries were already strained late last year over allegations of Australian spying on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.