Two more USA diplomats in China hit by mysterious illness, reports say

Geraldine Edwards
June 8, 2018

Heather Nauert, a State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement that the individuals from the US office in Guangzhou were returned home for further evaluation, Reuters reported.

The China incidents have raised fears the unexplained incidents that started in Cuba in 2016 have expanded. The report said officials are expecting more USA personnel to be evacuated.

Washington has said in the past that Cuban authorities must take responsibility for the safety of United States diplomats on their soil, but the Havana government denies any knowledge of an attack.

Employees at the American consulate in Guanzhou, China have fallen ill and exhibited symptoms similar to those displayed by USA workers in Cuba, who in 2016 also heard odd noises.

The New York Times reported that at least two employees removed from China experienced unusual noises while there.

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"If there's really a problem then the USA side can directly contact the Chinese side and communicate, and China will continue to conscientiously investigate and coordinate with a responsible attitude", Hua said.

Chinese officials earlier said that they had looked into last month's case but came up with no clues about the cause of the symptoms.

Four American members of staff at the USA consulate in Guangzhou referred Reuters to the Beijing embassy press office when asked about the situation.

The U.S. made a decision to withdraw a large number of its diplomats stationed in Havana after 24 government employees and family members complained of hearing loss, tinnitus, headaches, dizziness, visual difficulties and fatigue.

The State Department said it suspects the noises were part of a targeted attack, and accused Cuba of not doing enough to protect American diplomats.

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In April, Canada also ordered families of diplomatic staff in Cuba to return home after mysterious health symptoms were detected in 10 Canadians stationed there.

The incidents have raised concerns that a government or agency may be targeting the USA with a new type of sonic weapon. UPenn professors published a study in February finding that a "novel mechanism" was used to attack the diplomats in Cuba, confirming that the symptoms were the result of real physical damage and were not psychosomatic or the product of paranoia.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the precise nature of the injuries suffered has not been determined and promised a "multi-agency response to the unexplained health incidents".

It serves four southern provinces with a combined population of more than 204 million and processes more than 1 million visa applications of all types annually.

People working in Canton Place, a few kilometers (miles) from the consulate said they were just hearing about the incidents, reflecting a lack of coverage in China's entirely state-controlled media.

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"Relevant authorities of China have conducted investigations and given the feedback to the US".

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