Ambassador Kim and Defense Secretary Lorenzana observe flight operations aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), March 4. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Matt Brown)

SOUTH CHINA SEA - U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines Sung Kim and his guests visited the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), March 4.

The ambassador's guests included senior leaders from the Republic of the Philippines: Secretary of National Defense retired Brig. Gen. Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana, Secretary of Finance Carlos Garcia Dominguez III, and Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II.

"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," said Kim. "To see how it strengthens our alliance as well as how it reinforces our interest and engagement in the Asia-Pacific region."

During the visit, Kim and his guests met with Rear Adm. James W. Kilby, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1.

"It is a privilege to have you come aboard to see us," said Kilby. "We are conducting routine operations here to reassure our regional allies, and 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."

While the visitors were only aboard for a short visit, they were able to experience the ship firsthand and observe launch and recovery flight operations on the flight deck before boarding a C-2A Greyhound and flying back to Manila.

Distinguished visitor embarks provide an opportunity to show that CSGs are forward, ready and engaged as the centerpiece of visible maritime deterrence for the U.S. command authority and continue to be decisive in peace, natural disasters and war.

For more than 70 years, the U.S. Navy has maintained a persistent naval presence in the Indo-Asia Pacific. The U.S. Navy is committed to continuing this forward presence, which is focused on stability, regional cooperation and economic prosperity for all nations.

Carl Vinson has deployed to the region several times, starting with a deployment to the Western Pacific in 1983 a year after commissioning. Most recently in 2015, Carl Vinson conducted port visits and exercises with regional navies in the South China Sea.

Capt. Doug Verissimo, right, commanding officer of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), presents command ball caps to Ambassador Kim, center, and Defense Secretary Lorenzana. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Matt Brown)