"The position of Sekatung Island, although it is inhabited, plays a very important role in determining the extent of our sovereign territory," he remarked in a statement received from the Information Bureau of the Home Affairs Ministry here on Wednesday.
He issued the statement after accompanying the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, for a working visit to the security post for the outer islands of the island.
Furthermore, he noted that the outer islands must be managed properly to maintain the integrity and sovereignty of the country.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the position of the outermost islands is the starting point for setting the boundaries of a country's sovereignty, he noted.
Related news: DPR lauds govt's firm stance on China claim on Natuna waters
From Sekatung Island, Indonesia has a fully sovereign territorial sea as far as 12 nautical miles and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as far as 200 miles to the north, which must be maintained, the minister explained.
"This is the importance of our role: to keep this island from being claimed by another country," he emphasized.
He said he hoped that the disputes reported on Sipadan Island and Ligitan Island will not happen again on another Indonesian outer island.
Furthermore, the outer islands also have a big potential given their marine ecosystems and biological resources, for instance, coastal vegetation, fisheries, and non-biological resources, he noted.
"Hence, we must defend this island at all costs because it determines the sovereignty of our territory which must not be reduced, not even an inch," Karnavian added.
Sekatung Island is located in the northern region of the Natuna Islands and belongs to the same island group as Sedanau, Bunguran, and Midai Islands.
Related news: Government should bolster security in Natuna waters: MPR Deputy Chief