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quiet military build up by China in hotly contested waters. While the world's been focused on North Korea and China's leadership shake up. Recent satellite photo showed Beijing's been boosting its island bases in the South China Sea. Overlapping areas are claimed by five rival countries and patrolled by the US Navy.
And while China has been making an effort to improve ties with nations that also claim its stake, bitter disputes still remain. Reuters' Greg Torode says Beijing may be working towards making a power move soon.>> Well a lot of analysts we're speaking to think that at a time of China's choosing, it will again reassert sovereignty perhaps in some sort of demonstrative way.
We know there have been the deployment of surface air missiles and the paracells in the north along with jet fighter deployments. But it hasn't taken that step in the south yet in the Spratley's groupings, so that would be the move. That it starts to further militarize the Spratley Islands, and that would certainly raise concerns.
>> The buildup will likely be a key issue during US President Donald Trump's visit to Asia which begins this week. Some experts believe Washington is struggling to counter China's creeping control.>> Some people we've spoken to said while the US is following tactics, if you like, they're challenging freedom of navigation and insisting the right of freedom of passage.
But what the Trump administration seems to lack according to some commentators is a strategy. And that's what China doesn't lack. China is quite adroitly, slowly but surely inching its way to full control of its maritime domain.>> On Monday, China's ambassador to Washington warned the US against attempts to quote, contain Beijing, saying it's better to let regional powers work things out.
Meanwhile, Vietnam is nearing completion of a runway on its South China Sea base and Beijing is expected to deploy its first jet fighters to the region in the next few months.