After monitoring another unmanned balloon seen off Hawaii’s coast over the weekend, U.S. officials have decided not to shoot it down.
What Happened: A Defense Department spokesperson on Monday said it, along with the Federal Aviation Authority, first spotted the object on April 28, adding that although its ownership remained unclear, it did not appear to be controlled by “a foreign or adversarial actor.”
“Based on these observations, the Secretary of Defense concurred with the recommendation of his military commanders that no action need be taken against the balloon,” the spokesperson said, reported Politico.
The unmanned balloon spotted off the coast of Hawaii, according to officials, did not fly over any sensitive government areas and posed no danger to individuals on the ground, as it was flying at 36,000 feet altitude. As of Monday evening, the official said the balloon was no longer in Hawaii’s airspace or flying over U.S. territorial waters.
Why It Matters: This came after, earlier this year, a Chinese spy balloon was spotted in U.S. airspace, causing concerns about national security. The balloon was dramatically shot down over the Atlantic Ocean in February, causing a strain in U.S.-China relations.
The U.S. argued that the balloon was reportedly used for espionage purposes, claims Beijing denied.