Published: Thu, June 07, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

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

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

On Wednesday, the State Department said it was evacuating several more Americans from Guangzhou for further health screenings.

For months, American officials have been anxious that their diplomats have been subjected to targeted attacks involving odd sounds, leading to symptoms similar to those "following concussion or minor traumatic brain injury", the State Department says.

A number of U.S. personnel in China have been sent back to the United States for further health screenings after concerns over reports of mysterious acoustic incidents similar to the Cuba "sonic attacks".

Pompeo said on Tuesday that the USA had set up a taskforce to oversee the response to the mystery ailments among diplomats in both countries.

A Chinese government investigation has shed no light on why a US diplomat fell ill at the consulate in Guangzhou after hearing mysterious sounds, an official said Thursday.

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On May 23, the US Embassy in China said the US government is studying claims by an American diplomat who recently reported "abnormal" sensations of sound and pressure.

The US Consulate in Guangzhou, China.

On Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the employees were sent to the US for a "further evaluation and a comprehensive assessment of their symptoms and findings".

Hua said Beijing learned about the latest cases through a report in The New York Times.

"The medical screenings are ongoing for any personnel who have noted concerning symptoms or wanted baseline screening", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. The report said officials are expecting more U.S. personnel to be evacuated.

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One of the diplomats in China who reported symptoms described his experience to The Washington Post, saying he was in his apartment when he heard something like "marbles bouncing and hitting a floor, then rolling on an incline with a static sound".

Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said a medical team was sent in after an American employee fell ill last month, reviving fears that a United States rival has developed some kind of acoustic or microwave device.

A state department release on Tuesday made no reference to the possibility of a deliberate attack in China. The issue led the United States to expel Cuban diplomats.

But despite an investigation by the FBI that has lasted for more than a year, USA officials have been unable to determine the cause of the injuries, much less who the perpetrators might be. Each experienced symptoms that resemble an illness which has affected dozens of Americans in Cuba since 2016.

Pompeo told congress that the medical symptoms of the incident in China are similar to those suffered by United States diplomats in Cuba allegedly hit by "sonic" attacks.

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