US diplomats in China complain of sonic attacks; probes on the issue lead nowhere

  Beijing: China said, on Thursday that it has investigated the US allegations of mysterious sound attacks on its diplomats in the city of Guangzhou and found "no clue" even as two more American diplomats were evacuated after complaining of similar phenomena.

On 23 May, the US State Department had said that one of the workers at its Consulate in Guangzhou had experienced a "subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure". The symptoms were similar to those found in the case of US diplomatic personnel who worked in Cuba, including mild traumatic brain injury.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that at least two more American diplomats in Guangzhou have experienced similar phenomena and fallen ill. One of those embassy workers told the paper that he and his wife had heard mysterious sounds and experienced strange headaches and sleeplessness while in their apartment.

File image of Hua Chunying, spokeswoman of China's Foreign Ministry. Reuters

File image of Hua Chunying, spokeswoman of China's Foreign Ministry. Reuters

Reacting to the reports of the mysterious sound attacks on the US diplomats, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing today that Beijing had investigated the 23 May allegation and found no clue. "Relevant authorities of China have conducted investigations and given the feedback to the US. We haven't found the cause or the clues that led to the situation mentioned by the US," she said.

"For the latest incident according to my information, the US hasn't conducted any communication with China. We learnt this from the report of The New York Times. I am not aware of the relevant information. If there is really some problem, US can directly connect and communicate with China and China will adopt a responsible attitude to investigate this," she said. She added that China followed the Vienna convention to protect diplomatic staff of the US and other countries.

The evacuation of the US diplomats with mysterious illness comes at a time when the relations between Beijing and Washington were going through a tense phase as the two countries grappled to avert a trade war.

President Donald Trump has been asking China to cut the $375 billion trade deficit.

The US is also asking China to prevail on North Koran leader Kim Jong-un to give up nuclear programme.

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Updated Date: Jun 07, 2018 15:46:32 IST

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