BEIJING (AP) -- China said Friday it is looking into reports that a Chinese spy balloon has been flying in U.S. airspace and urged calm, adding that it has "no intention of violating the territory and airspace of any sovereign country."
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning also said she had no information about whether a trip to China by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken planned for this month would proceed as scheduled.
At a daily briefing, Mao said that politicians and the public should withhold judgment "before we have a clear understanding of the facts" about the spy balloon reports.
Blinken would be the highest-ranking member of President Joe Biden's administration to visit China, arriving amid efforts to mitigate a sharp downturn in relations between Beijing and Washington over trade, Taiwan, human rights and China's claims in the South China Sea.
"China is a responsible country and has always strictly abided by international laws, and China has no intention of violating the territory and airspace of any sovereign country. As for the balloon, as I've mentioned just now, we are looking into and verifying the situation and hope that both sides can handle this together calmly and carefully," Mao said.
"As for Blinken's visit to China, I have no information," she said.
A senior defense official told Pentagon reporters that the U.S. has "very high confidence" it is a Chinese high-altitude balloon and it was flying over sensitive sites to collect information.
One of the places the balloon was spotted was Montana, which is home to one of the nation's three nuclear missile silo fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.