China has said a suspected spy balloon spotted flying above the US is a “civilian airship” which strayed from its scheduled route. The white circular object, spotted in the sky on Thursday, is believed by US intelligence to be a “high-altitude surveillance” device. Beijing now claims it is a weather device – used for “mainly meteorological” purposes. However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed a high-profile visit to China, planned for this weekend, as tension rises between the two superpowers.


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