A fighter jet joining the military exercise (Photo: Reuters)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Indonesian air force carried out a large-scale exercise surrounding the Natunas Island in the East Sea where Beijing also claims sovereignty and Indonesia had conflicts with Chinese ships. 

Thousands of soldiers and jetfighters F-16, Sukhoi and Hercules participated in the exercise in the witness of President Joko Widodo. 

The Indonesian army’s spokesperson Tatang Sulaiman said the event aims to prepare for potential threats and cope with challenges in the region. 

President Widodo arrived in the Natunas islands to examine the exercise and the army’s weapon system as well as the development of the fishing industry in the area. This is the President’s second trip to Natunas since June this year. 

The waters surrounding the islands is a big granary of fish. This year, China’s fishing boats and surveillance ships collided with Indonesia’s vessels here, increasing tension between Jakarta and Beijing. 

Indonesia has intensified defence surrounding the islands and planned to send more warships, jet fighters and surface-to-air missiles to the area.-VNA