The relationship between the US and China has become increasingly strained over recent months after Washington increased its military presence in the highly contested region.
Both nations have called for members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be more sympathetic to their positions.
Now Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi has warned the two nations not to entangle her country in their fight for influence in the region.
She said: “ASEAN, Indonesia, wants to show to all that we are ready to be a partner.
“We don’t want to get trapped by this rivalry.”
ASEAN countries include Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.
The South China Sea is already a highly contested area with China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines all laying claim to parts of the archipelago.
Diplomatic relations between the nations are already extremely strained with China claiming most of the region as sovereign territory.
Beijing has recently constructed several military bunkers on some of the atolls, sparking fears of a World War 3 outbreak.
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The statement read: “[ASEAN has] a good culture, but we have to nurture it.
“We can’t take it for granted that these values will live forever.”
Earlier this year, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued an alarming warning to Beijing and ordered other nations to counter against China’s dominance in the region.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Pompeo said: “The United States’ policy is crystal clear: the South China Sea is not China’s maritime emp
“If Beijing violates international law and free nations do nothing, history shows the CCP will simply take more territory.
“China Sea disputes must be resolved through international law.”
In July, Hu Bo, a South China Sea expert, warned of a potential conflict between the US and China.
Speaking to CGTN, the Director of the Center for Maritime Strategy Research said: “Although the US has been trying to decouple from China in other areas, they are still closely connected.
“The chances of a large-scale conflict happening are small.
“But a medium or small-scale conflict is possible, such as two warships hitting each other or occasional crossfire since the two countries’ warships and aircraft encounter each other.”