(BBC) Indonesia has condemned Australia’s plan to set up a huge maritime security zone stretching five times as far as its territorial waters.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa told Reuters news agency the plan contravened international law.
“The projected 1,000 mile so-called information zone would take it too far into Indonesia’s waters,” he said.
But Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill said the plan was “not an attempt to extend Australian jurisdiction”.
The issue is likely to be one of the topics under discussion at a meeting between Mr Hill and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono later on Friday.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced the controversial plan on Wednesday, citing the need to prevent terrorist attacks on the nation’s ships, ports and oil rigs.
Under the proposals, vessels entering this new Australian Maritime Information Zone – which will be 1,000 nautical miles (1,800km) wide – can be intercepted at any time.
All ships in the zone will have to account for their journey and cargo.
The planned zone will encompass a huge area, stretching south of New Zealand to north of Indonesia – a fact which did not go down well when news of the plan reached Jakarta.
On Thursday, Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirjuda said the idea “contradicts our absolute jurisdiction and our sovereignty over our seas.”
In response to such concerns, Mr Hill said: “We need to talk to Indonesia about how we can effectively implement [the plan].”
“We both have an interest in protection of our off-shore oil rigs. We have a mutual interest, so we’d like to talk to Indonesia how we can both better protect those assets,” he added.