JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian President Joko Widodo called Monday for the return of hundreds of fishermen, but the U.N. Security Council has rejected his call, saying the country is in the middle of a deadly standoff with China.
Jokowi said Monday that his administration was sending boats to help return fishermen who have been missing since June 17.
He said that it was a humanitarian operation and he had no intention of letting anyone go.
But the Security Council rejected the request.
He told reporters that his government had been cooperating with the United Nations in the search for the missing.
Jokowie said that he would consider a plan to send a helicopter, if needed, to assist.
“We are not looking for any boats that will help us, and we have been told that we are not going to get a helicopter if we are going to return them,” Jokotas statement said.
“It is the responsibility of the countries who have the responsibility to return these people that we will go through this whole process,” he said.
The Security Council is expected to vote later on Monday on whether to adopt a resolution condemning China for detaining Chinese fishing boats.
The Council had already passed a resolution last month calling for the fishermen to be returned.
China and Indonesia have been at odds over the fate of some of the fishermen, including a number of senior officials.
The fishermen were seized after a fishing boat capsized in a contested area in the Gulf of Aden in July.
The fishermen have been held at a Chinese military camp since then.
Jakarta has denied Beijing’s claim that it seized the fishing boats because it feared they might be used to fish for illegal timber, but China has accused the Indonesian government of mismanagement of the case.
China has also accused Indonesia of violating its territorial waters in the South China Sea, and it has deployed naval ships in the area to challenge its claim.