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China builds up blue-water presence as world focuses on Ukraine

Beijing fully militarizes three reefs in South China Sea, U.S. commander says

BEIJING -- China has armed military outposts in the South China Sea, a top U.S. military official says, and is giving its coast guard more firepower, in what may be an attempt to take advantage of the world's preoccupation with the Ukraine war.

China has fully militarized at least three of several islands it built in the South China Sea, said Adm. John Aquilino, the U.S. Indo-Pacific commander, in a recent Associated Press interview.

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