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FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries aircraft is directed by ground crew after a flight from Bahrain September 25, 2017. U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Rhiannon Willard/Handout/File photo via REUTERS

(reuters_tickers)

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that its pilots actions were legal, necessary and professional after two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea at the weekend.

The ministry said in a statement that the U.S. plane threatened China's national security, and urged the United States to immediately cease such military activities.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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Reuters