Reuters International

Indonesian President Joko Widodo waits inside the presidential palace before a meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

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JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo will travel on Thursday to the Natuna Islands to reinforce the country's sovereignty in the area near the South China Sea, a senior official said.

Asked the reason for the trip to the remote islands, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Agung told reporters, "Natuna is the territory of Indonesia, that is final. As head of the government and the state, the president wants to ensure that Natuna is part of Indonesia's sovereignty."

Indonesia's foreign minister on Wednesday rejected China's stance that the two Asian nations have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, where there has been a run of skirmishes between Indonesian navy ships and Chinese vessels.

(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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