China expressed Friday its firm opposition to a U.S. House of Representatives resolution condemning Beijing's use of a suspected spy balloon over the United States, reiterating its claim that the airship was used for civilian purposes.

The resolution unanimously adopted Thursday called the balloon's entry into U.S. airspace a "brazen violation" of its sovereignty. At a press conference in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said the move by Congress was "a purely political manipulation and hype."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning holds a press conference in Beijing on Feb. 10, 2023. (Kyodo)

The U.S. resolution also accused the Chinese Communist Party of attempting to "deceive the international community through false claims about its intelligence collection campaigns" and called on the administration of President Joe Biden to keep Congress informed regarding the details of the incident.

Despite the Chinese claim that the balloon was used for civilian weather research, a senior U.S. State Department official said Thursday that the Chinese maker of the balloon has a "direct relationship" with the People's Liberation Army.

The U.S. military shot down the balloon on Feb. 4 after it had flown over the continental United States since late January. The military has collected some balloon debris to scrutinize the craft's surveillance capabilities.


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