Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa says that although Indonesia is not directly involved in any of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, it should bear the responsibility of helping to maintain peace in the region.
"Indonesia is not among the countries involved in the South China Sea disputes; however, we have always made an effort to facilitate their resolution," he said at the State Palace in Jakarta on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.
Marty went on to say that Indonesia had contributed to resolving the territorial disputes by carrying out continual diplomatic efforts to ease tensions in the region.
So far, the role of the Indonesian government had been warmly accepted by all relevant countries, he added.
Marty was speaking in response to comments made by presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who said during the third presidential debate that Indonesia should be careful in reacting to the South China Sea issue as it was not one of the countries involved in the territorial disputes.
"In responding to what Pak Jokowi said, actually we have made some effort based on the assumption that we can contribute [to resolving the regional problem]," Marty said.
Jokowi made the statement when he was asked by his competitor, Prabowo Subianto, what he would do to help resolve conflicts in the South China Sea if elected as president in the July 9 election.
Jokowi said he did not want to interfere in the South China Sea conflicts.
The non-active Jakarta governor added that if elected president, he would see that Indonesia was not dragged into an international dispute unless it could contribute a concrete solution.
He further said that Indonesia should not involve itself in the South China Sea tensions, which involves several countries in the region including China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
"Those are the affairs of other countries. If we can play a role toward resolving the problem, then that's good.
But if we don't have a good solution and the diplomatic processes conducted have turned out to be useless, then why would we pursue the issue?"
Jokowi stated during the debate on Sunday evening, which focused on international politics and national security.
Responding to Jokowi's statement, Prabowo tried to dig deeper by saying that part of Indonesia's territory in the region was claimed by another country.
Jokowi reiterated that Indonesia did not need to intervene too deep into the South China Sea issue, however.
"As far as I know, we are not involved in any conflict with any country regarding the South China Sea," he said.
Marty admitted there were problems regarding maritime borders between Indonesia and other countries that had not yet been resolved.
"What Pak Prabowo said was true; there have been indications of problems concerning maritime borders that remain unresolved," he said