China says it is 'verifying' spy balloon reports

STORY: "I would like to emphasize that until the facts are clarified, speculation and hype will not be helpful to the proper resolution of the issue," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular daily briefing in Beijing on Friday.

The Pentagon reported on Thursday (February 2) that a spy balloon it suspects is Chinese had entered U.S. airspace and was flying over the country.

Fighter jets were mobilized, but military leaders advized President Joe Biden against shooting the balloon out of the sky for fear debris could pose a safety threat, advice Biden accepted, U.S. officials said.

Spy balloons have flown over the United States several times in recent years, but this balloon appeared to be lingering longer than in previous instances, one of the U.S. officials said.