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China's muscle-flexing provokes a surge in military spending in Asia

CANBERRA -- Think of Vietnam's military. The image that comes to mind is probably masses of foot soldiers in baggy green uniforms and sun helmets, toting Kalashnikov assault rifles, backed by a few museum-worthy tanks and jets.

     That image is now wildly out of date. Visualize instead a fleet of ultraquiet submarines armed not only with heavyweight torpedoes to sink enemy ships and submarines, but with land-attack cruise missiles that can precisely blast targets up to 300km away.

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