Cuba says it can't uncover cause of 'sonic attacks' on USA diplomats

11 June, 2018, 05:47 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • U.S. evacuates China staffers as illness mystery deepens

On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department evacuated at least two more American workers experiencing unusual health symptoms from their consulate in Guangzhou, China.

"The State Department received medical confirmation that a US government employee in China suffered a medical incident consistent with what other USA government personnel experienced in Havana, Cuba", it said in an emailed statement.

A State Department official says they are "potentially new cases" but not yet "medically confirmed".

A previous statement in May only mentioned the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou as the location for the health alert, though it was sent to US citizens throughout the country.

China has said that it thoroughly investigated the initial case reported by the United States and found no reasons or clues to explain it.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, which has partly rolled back a detente with Cuba, responded previous year by sharply drawing down U.S. Embassy staff in Havana and in October expelled 15 Cuban diplomats.

U.S. evacuates China staffers as illness mystery deepens

On June 6, the US government said that it had brought a group of people from that consulate back to the United States for further evaluation of their symptoms, and that it was offering screening to anyone at the USA embassy in Beijing or other consulates in China who requested it. It called for people to be attentive of symptoms including "dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, ear complaints and hearing loss, and difficulty sleeping".

The development comes as the USA issues travel warnings to Americans in China after unexplained health issues there raised fears that problems detected in Cuba in 2016 have spread. "The Ministry of Foreign Relations reiterates that no evidence of the alleged incidents has been presented, and maintains its unwavering commitment to cooperate with USA authorities". The Cuban government denied involvement in the attacks and the State Department sent more than 60 percent of Americans working at the USA embassy there home.

The State Department is taking the most recent reports in China very seriously and alerted staff in the country after consulate staffers fell ill in the city of Guangzhou in May, according to Politico.

Security guards outside the Guangzhou consulate on Thursday told reporters to leave the area and not attempt to talk to consulate staff.

The cases come at a sensitive time in relations between the United States and China, with the two nations locked in negotiations aimed at preventing a trade war and tensions over Beijing's claims to the South China Sea.

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