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Indonesia toughens up against Beijing in South China Sea

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The Indonesian navy, left, inspects a Chinese fishing boat of the Natuna Islands.   © Reuters

JAKARTA -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited a chain of islands in the South China Sea in response to a recent maritime spat with Beijing, taking a harder line against China's military ambitions in the region alongside its Southeast Asian neighbors.

Widodo visited the Natuna Islands on Thursday, where he held a cabinet meeting aboard a navy ship. While the president's office described the gathering as an exchange over regional economic development, it was clearly intended to send a strong message to China reasserting Indonesia's sovereignty over the surrounding waters. Widodo at the meeting called on the military to bolster security measures.

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