FIRST AIRED: February 22, 2017

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Transcript

00:00:01
>> A test for Donald Trump on the South China Sea. Two US officials exclusively tell Reuters, Beijing is almost finished building nearly two dozen structures on their artificial islands. And they look built to house weapons, likely long range surface to air missiles. That begs the question of how President Trump will react.
00:00:21
His administration has called Beijing's island building illegal as Reuters Greg Torode explains now the ball's in Trumps's court.>> It's still unclear quite when the construction is gonna be complete, and when they are gonna be fully armed with surface air missiles. So, the Trump administration if it wants some legal room as it finds its feet.
00:00:40
It's got some. It can probably seen some sort of strong message without necessarily going overboard if it chooses. There still remains a lot of uncertainty about the US position. And I suspect China's feeling that uncertainty as well.>> US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson angered China last month after he said it should be stopped from building its South China Sea islands.
00:01:02
He compared Beijing's island claims to Russia taking Crimea from Ukraine, since then both Tillerson and Trump have walked back their language. But officials say the buildings, where China's already laid out military linked airstrips, could be considered a military escalation.>> It would complicate the US strategic plans. They've got to think about, in a conflict situation, if worse came to worse, to how they would deal with the fact that there are missiles on those islands.
00:01:28
Officials said the new structures don't pose a significant threat to American forces in the region, given how visible and vulnerable those buildings are. They say instead, it appears to be a political test of the waters to see how far Trump will go.