Indonesia to beef up security in disputed area

JAKARTA - Indonesia will sharply strengthen security around its South China Sea islands where there have been clashes with Chinese vessels, the defence minister said, a day after Beijing's claims in the waters were declared invalid.

In an interview, Ryamizard Ryacudu said bolstering defences around Indonesia's Natuna Islands would involve deploying warships, an F-16 fighter jet, surface-to-air missiles, a radar and drones, as well as constructing new ports and improving an airstrip.

The military build-up, which started in recent months, would be completed in "less than a year", he said.

"This will be our eyes and ears," the retired general said.

"So that we can really see what is happening in the Natunas and the surrounding areas in the South China Sea."