U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Manila for 'Balikatan'

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — United States Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter arrived in Manila early evening of Wednesday (April 13) to personally observe the ongoing joint military exercises between the Philippines and the U.S.

Carter and his entourage arrived on board a US Air Force Boeing B747-200 at 6:20 p.m. at the Ages Aviation Center, Inc., a private hangar inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) complex.

He was met by the country's Defense Undersecratary Jesus Milan and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg.

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The yearly military exercises, called Balikatan (shoulder to shoulder), kicked off last April 4 and was set to last until April 15.

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Earlier reports said Carter would attend activities such as the use of a modern missile launcher known as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) used by the U.S. in its operations in Afghanistan.

Australian troops participated in this year's exercises while eight other countries observed the activities.