US Admiral in Disputed South China Sea: 'We Will Be Here'

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral James Kilby, Commander, Carrier Strike Group One, talks to the media aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) while on patrol off the disputed South China Sea, March 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
U.S. Navy Rear Admiral James Kilby, Commander, Carrier Strike Group One, talks to the media aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) while on patrol off the disputed South China Sea, March 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

ABOARD USS CARL VINSON, South China Sea — A U.S. admiral says America will continue to patrol the South China Sea to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight in the disputed region.

Rear Admiral James Kilby said Friday on board the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson that, "We have operated here in the past, we're going to operate here in the future, we're going to continue to reassure our allies."

Kilby's comments followed reported Chinese moves to install missile defense systems on islands it recently built, and the inauguration of a new U.S. president who has raised questions about America's role in Asia.

The U.S. military took a group of journalists to the aircraft carrier during a routine patrol of the South China Sea, one of the world's security hotspots.

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