Indonesian military finds strange replica of Chinese tank floating in Natuna Sea
The Indonesian military recently discovered a strange and very mysterious replica of a Chinese tank floating in the sea, according to the country’s security and defense source JATOSINT. The object, which completely looked like a rusty tank, was found near an oil rig in the Natuna Sea earlier this month, according to reports. Although it ended up floating with the wave and the current of water, later the Indonesian Navy began to search for the object, reported Sputnik.
In addition, a few days later, the model of the reservoir was discovered again. According to reports, the object is a perfect copy of the Type 15 / ZTQ-15 tank, also known as the VT-5, which is believed to have been made in China. However, details of who created the odd replica tank and what it was used for are still unknown. Despite its inability to float, this type would have been considered used by the Chinese Marines as a combat vehicle.
China presses Indonesia to stop drilling in Natuna Sea
Meanwhile, in a related development, China appeared to be pressuring Indonesia to stop its oil and gas development plans in the South China Sea near the Natuna Islands. According to ANI, citing Nikkei Asia, exploratory drilling operations have started near the islands of the Sea of Natuna, which are located in Indonesia’s Inner Economic Zone, which straddles China’s important “nine-dash” land claim that encompasses much of of the sea.
To oppose the drilling, China has deployed coastguard ships to the region to lobby, according to the article, which quotes Indonesian government sources. Jakarta, on the other hand, which believes there is no territorial conflict with China, has so far been silent on Beijing’s objections. According to the article, Indonesia refuses to respond publicly to China’s objection because it believes it would imply accepting the existence of a regional conflict.
It is relevant to note that China claims sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam as well as Taiwan all have overlapping territorial claims. Beijing has stepped up its involvement in the Natuna Islands since 2019, sparking tensions with Jakarta.