(Bloomberg) -- China urged the US to stay “cool headed,” as Beijing looks into Biden administration claims that a Chinese spy balloon was flying over American territory near sensitive military facilities. 

“China is a responsible country and we act in accordance with international law,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular news briefing Friday in Beijing. “We have no intention to violate other countries’ sovereignty and airspace. And as I said, we are gathering and verifying the facts. We hope the relevant parties will handle the matter in a cool-headed way.”

The discovery of a Chinese spy balloon lingering at high altitude in the western US is threatening to overshadow US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Beijing, widely seen as a trip intended to normalize relations. Beijing has sought to create a constructive backdrop of the discussions with a series of commentaries in state media publication the People’s Daily calling for the two nations to find common ground. 

What to Know About the Chinese Spy Balloon Floating Over the US

Mao sidestepped questions about whether Blinken’s trip was still on, saying she had no information to provide. 

The Chinese balloon, first spotted earlier this week, was loitering over Montana, home to sensitive sites including to the Air Force’s 341st Missile Wing and its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. A Defense Department spokesman said the US had high confidence it belonged to China, without explaining why. 

Canada’s defense department said it was tracking “a potential second incident,” without elaborating. 

--With assistance from Xiao Zibang.

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