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>> New island building in the South China Sea, and this time it's not Beijing. Satellite images showing a new channel scooped out of a reef in the Spratly Islands, occupied by Vietnam. Analysts say it could be the first step for a bigger construction project. Reuters' Greg Torode says, if that's the case, it's consistent with one of Hanoi's main goals, standing up to China.
>> They're pursuing a very active deterrent policy. But this year has really showed itself in a number of different ways. Not only are they expanding their Navy quite rapidly, they've started putting missile launchers, state of the art, Israeli made missile launchers, on some of the Spratly's Islands. And they're also doing their own work to reclaim and expand parts of them.
>> Hanoi occupies three times the number of islands in the South China Sea that Beijing does. But it has far fewer resources reclaiming around 120 acres of land in the past few years, compared to an estimated 3,200 acres built up by China. The Pentagon this week told Beijing to back off in the South China sea or face the consequences.
But Hanoi's recent island building hint it's preparing to deal with things on it's own.>> That's seems to highlight Vietnam's on-going strategic mistrust over the South China Sea. And whether anybody will come to their aid over China, whether it's ASEAN diplomatically or even the US. They are making sure they have a military that can provide a deterrence to China, and this can be seen in that context.
>> Satellite images show Beijing's been adding weapons like anti-aircraft systems and radar. But it's sticking by its claims that its facilities in these disputed waters are purely for self-defense.>>