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U.S. discovered a Chinese balloon spying over its territory

The alleged Chinese spy balloon that the United States detected over its territory is a "civilian aircraft" that the Asian giant uses for "mainly meteorological" purposes. This was assured by the Beijing government.

Pentagon officials said Thursday during a briefing that they were "certain" that this "high-altitude surveillance" aircraft belonged to China and that it is used for military purposes.

However, the version of espionage was rejected Friday by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which in a statement said the balloon was for scientific purposes and that it deviated from its intended route.

In its statement, the authorities of the Asian giant also apologized for the "unintentional entry" of the balloon into U.S. airspace.

The object flew over Alaska's Aleutian Islands and across Canada before appearing Wednesday over the city of Billings in the western state of Montana, Washington reported.

U.S. military chiefs decided not to shoot down the suspected spy craft because of the danger of debris falling to earth.

The location of the balloon aroused suspicions. The reason? Montana, bordering Canada, is a sparsely populated state, but has several military installations.

One such base is Malmstrom Air Force Base, which is one of three sites that house the nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, Minuteman III.

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