President Joe Biden promised "to take care" of a suspected Chinese spy balloon flying over the United States, an incident that further strained ties with Beijing.

Asked by reporters to comment on relations with China and the balloon incident, Biden told reporters Saturday, "We're gonna take care of it."

He did not elaborate.

The controversy erupted Thursday, when American officials said they were tracking a large Chinese "surveillance balloon" in US skies, but decided not to shoot it down over concerns of hurting people or property on the ground.

That led Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday to scrap a rare trip to Beijing.

After initial hesitation, Beijing admitted ownership of the "airship," but said it was a weather balloon that had been blown off course, adding that it regretted the situation.

"The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes," China's foreign ministry said in a statement Friday.

"The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace due to force majeure," it said, using the legal term for an act outside of human control.

The balloon had flown over parts of the northwestern United States that are home to sensitive airbases and strategic nuclear missiles in underground silos, adding to concerns.

On Saturday, US media reported that the balloon was spotted over both North and South Carolina in the eastern part of the country.

Another suspected Chinese spy balloon was seen over Latin America, the Pentagon said Friday, without providing specifics as to its location.

Biden made his comments in Syracuse, New York, where he was to spend several hours Saturday.