Chinese Military

Two Chinese fighter jets conducted an "unprofessional" intercept of a U.S. aircraft in international airspace over the East China Sea on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Air Force.

The American aircraft was conducting a routine mission in accordance with international law when the two Chinese SU-30 jets made the move, Pacific Air Forces spokeswoman Lt. Col. Lori Hodge told NPR.

Chinese officials smashed a bottle of Champagne on the bow of their second aircraft carrier Wednesday, launching what the Defense Ministry calls the country's first "homemade" carrier — which took less than four years to build.

The as-yet-unnamed carrier joins the Liaoning, a repurposed 1980s-era Soviet ship that was bought from Ukraine and launched in 2012. Together, the Chinese ships represent a new dimension in the increasingly crowded waters in and around Asia, where claims and counter-claims have been made on islands and shipping routes.

"We have seen evidence of surface-to-air missile deployments to Woody Island," a U.S. defense official says, in the first official public comments about China placing a weapons system on a disputed island in the South China Sea.

From Shanghai, NPR's Frank Langfitt reports:

"The missiles appear to be Chinese HQ-9s with a range of more than 100 miles, which would pose a potential threat to aircraft in the area. Woody Island is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.