United States diplomats evacuated from China amid 'sonic attack' concerns

United States diplomats evacuated from China amid 'sonic attack' concerns

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 State Department previously issued a travel alert for Americans in China, prompting Foreign Minister Wang Yi to warn Washington not to "politicize" the incidents.

The New York Times is also reporting that a State Department medical team flew to Guangzhou and is performing tests on other employees and their family members - some 170 workers in total at the site, plus their family members.

As soon as the department received medical confirmation that one USA government employee had suffered a "medical incident that was consistent with what American personnel in Havana, Cuba, had experienced", officials deployed a medical team to Guangzhou, China, to screen all us employees and family members who requested it, she said. Lenzi, his wife, who also reportedly complained of hearing weird noises in their apartment, and their two children departed for the U.S. on Wednesday evening. Ten Canadian diplomats and their relatives also suffered a odd illness.

Nauert again stressed that the department was taking the incident "very seriously and working to determine the cause and impact of the incident".

Asked about the latest incidents, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the U.S. had not formally raised the matter with Beijing. While the economic, political and diplomatic ties between China and the U.S. are obviously much stronger, any additional strains are not welcome.

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Hua appeared to express some irritation at what she described as a lack of communication on the part of the United States. I am not aware of the relevant information. "We are in contact with USA officials and are closely monitoring developments".

Hua said the Foreign Ministry had not yet been formally informed by the USA government about the new cases, having only heard about them through media reports.

Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress the case in Guangzhou was medically very similar to the ones seen in Cuba a year ago, when a large part of the embassy staff was withdrawn after complaining of symptoms that included hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, visual difficulties, headaches and fatigue.

Last October, the State Department ordered non-essential embassy personnel and the families of all staff to leave Havana, arguing the USA could not protect them from unexplained illnesses that have harmed at least 24 Americans. The Associated Press published a recording of the sound in October. As per Reuters, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed concerns over the matter which he termed as a "serious medical incident". "The Task Force includes interagency partners, such as the Departments of Health and Human Services, Commerce, Justice, Defense and Energy, as well as other members of the foreign affairs community".

The nature of the injury, and whether a common cause exists, hasn't been established yet, the department said.

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