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China says balloon is for research, accidentally strayed

Balloon seen over Montana

Emily Wang Fujiyama, Tara Copp and Lolita C. Baldor

Associated Press

BEIJING — China’s Foreign Ministry said today that a balloon, seen over locations including Montana, that the U.S. suspects of conducting surveillance was a civilian “airship” used for research, mainly meteorological purposes.

The statement said the airship has limited steering capability and “deviated far from its planned course” because of winds.

It said China regrets the unintended entry of the airship into U.S. airspace.

The discovery further strained already-tense relations between Beijing and Washington.

The Pentagon de...


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