Remote, Gas-rich Islands On Indonesia’s South China Sea Frontline
The word “sleepy” could have been invented for Ranai, the largest town in Indonesia’s remote and sparsely populated Natuna archipelago. But that’s precisely what many people here fear. They know Natuna is quite a prize. Its fish-rich waters are routinely plundered by foreign trawlers. Lying just inside its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone is the East Natuna gas field, one of the world’s largest untapped reserves. And any quarrel over Natuna would also upset a delicate strategic balance, undermining Indonesia’s role as a self-appointed honest broker in the myriad territorial disputes between its Southeast Asian neighbors and regional giant China.
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