WATCH: PH Cabinet secretaries visit US aircraft carrier

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 05 2017 01:31 PM

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Despite the tough rhetoric often directed by President Rodrigo Duterte against the United States, members of the Duterte administration were invited to visit one of the U.S. Navy's biggest ships currently patrolling the South China Sea.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II accompanied U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

The aircraft carrier is the flagship of the U.S. Pacific Fleet's Carrier Strike Group 1.

The Philippine officials also met with Rear Admiral James Kilby, commander of Carrier Strike Group 1 and discussed the importance of free access to international waters for all nations.

Ambassador Kim said the U.S. naval patrols in the South China Sea were not a 'show of force' but 'routine carrier operations.'

Lorenzana meanwhile said the U.S. was within its rights to undertake 'freedom of navigation patrols.'

China claims much of the South China Sea and is involved in territorial disputes with several nations, including the Philippines.