Indonesia's president visited the Natuna Islands aboard a warship Thursday, making a bold move to assert sovereignty over the area in the southern reaches of the South China Sea after Beijing stated an "overlapping claim" on nearby waters.

President Joko "Jokowi" Jokowi's visit along with his chief security minister and foreign minister was described by Indonesian officials as the strongest message that has been given to China over the issue.

A presidential palace statement said Jokowi intended to hold a Cabinet meeting aboard the warship.