The giant white object spotted drifting over Montana earlier this week is a spy balloon sent by China, at least according to the United States government. China, however, is urging everyone to take a deep breath and not pass judgment "before we have a clear understanding of the facts." That was the insistence on Friday by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning, who noted during a daily briefing that "China is a responsible country ... [that] has no intention of violating the territory and airspace of any sovereign country," per NPR.
She added that China is attempting to verify what's going on, and that both countries should act "calmly and prudently," reports the South China Morning Post. A senior US defense official, however, isn't waiting for China's vetting, noting in a background briefing that the United States has "very high confidence" that the somewhat-identified flying object is a Chinese spy balloon that was flying over sensitive sites. Montana is home to several nuclear silo sites, multiple news outlets note. (Read more China stories.)