The U.S. Navy conducted a series of exercises between June and August, 2016 in the South China Sea as Washington becomes increasingly worried about China exerting what it believes are its territorial rights on the sea.

The dispute, which includes the Spratly and the Paracel Islands, involves rival territorial claims from China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. The South China Sea is a strategic water route in the region, with cargo traffic worth several trillion dollars moving through it annually.