Beijing: In a statement on Friday, China’s foreign ministry said the “balloon” was used for “mainly meteorological” purposes. China “regrets the unintended entry” of the balloon into US airspace, it added.
US defence officials said they believed the balloon, seen above sensitive areas in recent days, was in fact a “high-altitude surveillance” device.
The Chinese statement said the balloon had been blown off-course by unexpected winds.
“Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course.”
“The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into United States airspace due to force majeure,” it added.
“China regrets that the airship strayed into the United States by mistake due to force majeure. China will continue to maintain communication with the United States side to properly handle this accident,” it said.
The statement referred to the incident as an “unexpected situation” and said Beijing would continue to communicate States to handles the accident.
On Friday, Canada said it had summoned China’s ambassador over the incident and will continue to “vigorously express” its position to Chinese officials.
The balloon has been reported in US media as being about the size of three buses.
(With Agency Inputs)
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