Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, Man Who Changed the History of World's Seas

Arfi Bambani
Mochtar Kusumaatmadja
Mochtar Kusumaatmadja - Every December 13, Indonesians commemorate Archipelago Day. The commemoration is a tribute to the services of the Juanda Cabinet, which on December 13, 1957, declared a national maritime sovereignty boundary of 12 miles from the outermost coastline. The deep-sea becomes Indonesia's sovereign territory as a whole.

But this declaration was a unilateral action. It became a universal recognition thanks to a man named Mochtar Kusumaatmadja who was Indonesia's Minister for Foreign Affairs between 1978-1988. Besides his role as a minister, Kusumaatmadja was also a professor of law at Padjajaran University.

The chairman of the Central Representative Council (DPP) of the Indonesian Islamic Da'wah Institute (LDII) Singgih Tri Sulistiyono stated that Professor Mochtar Kusumaatmadja had great service in changing the history of the world's seas.

"This nation is grateful to Professor Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, who with his thoughts succeeded in applying the principle of the homeland or the concept of the archipelago which views the sovereignty of land (archipelago) and sea as one unit," said Singgih Tri Sulistiyono in a written statement received by Antara news agency in Jakarta, Monday, December 13, 2021.

The concept of Archipelagic State originated from Professor Kusumaatmadja who at that time realized the importance of the unity of the Indonesian state to determine Indonesia's maritime territorial boundaries through the Djuanda Declaration in 1957.

After a long fight in international forums, finally, in 1982, the concept of Archipelagic State became an integral part of the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Since then, the archipelagic state has been universally recognized.

This recognition brings a positive impact on Indonesia where the Republic of Indonesia's territorial has more than doubled without bloodshed. "For this reason, the LDII supports the views of various parties who place Mochtar Kusumaatmadja as an 'Indonesian Marine Rights Fighter'," said Singgih, who is also a Professor of History at Diponegoro University in Semarang.

"Previously, Indonesia used the Dutch Ordinance of 1939 to determine maritime boundaries. The territory of the Dutch East Indies was three miles measured from the low-tide line of islands or parts of islands that are part of the mainland," he explained.

The Juanda Declaration which was announced to the world on December 13, 1957, aimed to stem the presence of the Dutch Navy that pacing back and forth on the Java Sea. Dutch tried to maintain their power by presenting a war fleet in the inland seas of the archipelago. And Juanda's declaration changed it. The declaration changed the traditional concept of territorial views was only on the land.

Mochtar Kusumaatmadja who was born on February 17, 1929, passed away on June 6, 2021.

Tag # sea # ocean # law of the sea # united nation # south china sea # sovereignty

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