U.S. Embassy in China Warns Americans About Potential Sonic Attacks Abroad

The case revived fears that a US rival has developed some kind of acoustic or microwave deviceMore

The US embassy in China issued a new health alert for its citizens on Friday after more US government employees were evacuated from the country over fears they may have been hit by a mysterious illness.

The U.S. Embassy in China on Friday sent out an alert to Americans traveling overseas that they needed to seek medical attention immediately if they start to experience similar symptoms shared by U.S. staffers in China and Cuba.

Heather Nauert, the State Department's spokeswoman, said "several" consulate employees had returned to the United States from China for further evaluation after they were screened as part of a task force Secretary of State Mike Pompeo created last month.

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 USA citizens throughout the country. It is also the only USA diplomatic installation in China authorized to process immigrant visas and handle adoptions.

The symptoms are similar to those exhibited by USA personnel in Cuba after they heard unusual noises in an apparent sonic attack.

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

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Those affected have suffered a range of symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, fatigue, cognitive issues and sleep loss.

US experts have yet to determine who or what was behind the mysterious illnesses that affected 24 people. It advised them "not to attempt to locate the source of any unidentified auditory sensation".

"If the U.S. makes formal contact with us, China will continue necessary investigations in an earnest and responsible manner and maintain close communication and cooperation with the U.S.", Hua said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

Asked about the latest incidents, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday that the USA had not formally raised the matter with Beijing.

The State Department has sent a medical team to China to offer medical screenings to all American government workers and family members who want them. The AP reported that out of the approximately 170 American staffers in the consulate, 150 have undergone the examinations. The U.S. government has deemed those incidents "specific attacks" on American workers but hasn't publicly identified a cause or culprit. The Guangzhou consulate opened months after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington in 1979 and moved to its new purpose-built facility in 2013.

Guangzhou is one of the most important of the US diplomatic outposts in the country.

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