Indonesia may turn the Natuna Regency in South China Sea into a special economic zone (SEZ), in a bid to reinforce maritime security and attract investment.

A government working group set up early in 2022 has been conducting studies to convert the island group into an SEZ at the request of the Natuna Regency office, according to an article published by Nikkei Asia on May 13 2022.


The Indonesian government is looking to use the SEZ to attract investment in the local fishing and tourism industries, according to the article.

Earlier this year, Indonesian president Joko Widodo signed a decree to divide the Natuna marine area into different regulated zones, such as exploration, defence and fishing. 

There have been ongoing maritime disputes between Indonesia and China over this part of the South China Sea. In December, Chinese diplomats told Indonesia’s foreign ministry to stop drilling at the Natunas rig, which it claims was in Chinese territory, Reuters reported.

Currently, Indonesia has 18 SEZs, 10 of which are industrial zones and eight of which are in tourism zones.