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4 Indonesian soldiers killed in South China Sea exercise

PhilStar Global logo PhilStar Global 4 days ago philstar.com

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Four Indonesian soldiers were killed when a Chinese-made anti-aircraft cannon malfunctioned during an exercise in the Natuna island chain in the South China Sea, the Indonesian military said Thursday.

Army spokesman Alfret Denny Tuejeh said eight other soldiers were wounded in the accident Wednesday in the Tanjung Datuk region of Riau Islands province.

He said the malfunction of the twin-barreled gun caused it to fire in unexpected directions and hit the soldiers, who are members of the Quick Response Team of the Army's Air Defense Artillery Unit. Four of the wounded are in serious condition.

In this Saturday, April 15, 2017, file photo released by the U.S. Navy, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the Sunda Strait between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra as the U.S Navy aircraft carrier strike group is on a scheduled western Pacific deployment. South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported Monday, April 24, that South Korean naval ships will conduct training exercises with the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, as tensions surrounding the Korean Peninsula continue to eclipse those in the South China Sea. North Korea marks the founding anniversary of its military on Tuesday, and South Korea and its allies are bracing for the possibility that it could conduct another nuclear test or launch an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time. Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/The U.S. Navy via AP, File © Philstar.com In this Saturday, April 15, 2017, file photo released by the U.S. Navy, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the Sunda Strait between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra as the U.S Navy aircraft carrier strike group is on a scheduled western Pacific deployment. South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported Monday, April 24, that South Korean naval ships will conduct training exercises with the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, as tensions surrounding the Korean Peninsula continue to eclipse those in the South China Sea. North Korea marks the founding anniversary of its military on Tuesday, and South Korea and its allies are bracing for the possibility that it could conduct another nuclear test or launch an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time. Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/The U.S. Navy via AP, File

Tuejeh said an investigation is underway to find out why the weaponry, purchased from China in 2003, malfunctioned.

Indonesia has boosted its military presence in the Natuna islands, which are in the southernmost reaches of the South China Sea, in response to Beijing's assertive posture in the region.

Unlike several other Southeast Asian nations, Indonesia does not have a territorial dispute with China. But China's "nine-dash line" that signifies its expansive claims to the sea overlaps with Indonesia's internationally recognized exclusive economic zone.

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