Indonesia has moved to freeze exports of sea sand to Singapore, long a lucrative business seen as endangering not only the environment but also tiny islands off the eastern coast of Sumatra, a local media reported Monday.
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi said Singapore's use of sand to reclaim its coasts could confuse the two countries' common borders, according to The Jakarta Post newspaper.
The minister said the ban would be lifted once the two countries had mapped out their sea boundaries.
"Boundaries are set from the reclamation point, not from the original point before reclamation," he said, adding that the Foreign Ministry had discussed the issue with Singapore but was so far unable to reach agreement.
Freddy said that as long as the issue remained unsettled, it was reasonable for Indonesia to impose the ban on sand exports.
Officials from Indonesia and Singapore met last year to discuss the issue of sea boundaries, and pledged to resolve the issue as quickly as possible based on the international law.