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US envoy, Defense chief visit US aircraft carrier

United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim and Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana visit USS Carl Vinson at sea on Saturday, Mar. 4, 2017. US Navy photo

MANILA, Philippines — United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim and senior government officials visited the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson last weekend.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II visited the ship along with the American envoy.

Kim and the Cabinet members met with Rear Adm. James Kilby, commander of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG)

The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet-led initiative to extend the command and control functions of U.S. 3rd Fleet. U.S Navy aircraft carrier strike groups have patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific regularly and routinely for more than 70 years. US Navy photo

"I am grateful to the USS Carl Vinson for hosting us and for giving us the opportunity to bring some of our friends from the Philippines to see‎ what we do out here," Kim said in a media release.

Carl Vinson is currently conducting routine operations in the country to reassure their regional allies, Kilby said.

"I can’t think of a better way to showcase our abilities, than to bring our partners out to see for themselves how we operate," Kilby said.

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The visitors were able to experience the capabilities of the ship firsthand. They observed the launch and recovery flight operations on the flight deck.

Visitor embarks provide opportunity to show that CSGs are ready and engaged as the centerpiece of maritime deterrence for the US command authority, the US Embassy said.

The US Navy has maintained its presence in the Indo-Asia Pacific region for more than 70 years.

"Navy is committed to continuing this forward presence, which is focused on stability, regional cooperation and economic prosperity for all nations," the embassy said.

In 2015, Carl Vinson conducted port visits and exercises with regional navies in the South China Sea. It was first deployed to the Western Pacific in 1983. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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