ABOARD CARRIER 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.

"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," Rear Adm. James Kilby said Friday onboard the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.

Kilby's comments follow 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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