United States Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is scheduled to visit United States Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) today in West Philippine Sea. “Later today, I will visit the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, sailing in the South China Sea after some of its sailors and Marines participated with you in Balikatan,” he said during the closing ceremony of Balikatan 2016 earlier today.
“With each Balikatan and each cruise by the Stennis, with each new multilateral exercise and each new defense agreement, we add a stitch to the fabric of the region’s security network,” he added. “This is the network – peaceful, principled, and inclusive – America continues to stand for, and stand with.”
This is the second time Carter is visiting a US carrier sailing in the region. The first was in November 2015. He visited USS Theodore Roosevelt with Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
In his speech, Carter likened security to oxygen. “It’s said that [in] this region, that security is like oxygen, [if] we have enough of it you pay no attention to it, but when you don’t have enough you can think of nothing else.”
“The United States will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and we will continue to stand up for our safety and freedom, for those of our friends and allies and for the values, principles, and rule-based order that has benefited so many for so long. As long as we remain steadfast in that commitment as we had for decades we will continue to ensure the Philippines remains secure and the Asia-Pacific remains a region where everyone can rise and prosper for generations to come,” Carter stressed.
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