Cuba releases details of incident involving United States official

A Chinese woman checks her documents as she walks past the U.S. Embassy in Beijing Friday

The State Department said on Friday the cases were similar to those of 24 diplomats and family members taken ill through 2017, leading to a drawdown of personnel in Havana to a skeleton staff and the expulsion of 17 Cuban diplomats from Washington.

Since the incident, other employees from the consulate and their families have been evacuated.

"The State Department received medical confirmation that a USA government employee in China suffered a medical incident consistent with what other US government personnel experienced in Havana, Cuba", it said in an emailed statement. There are about 170 US diplomats or employees and their families in Guangzhou. 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".

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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.

A security person walks outside the USA consulate building in Guangzhou in south China's Guangdong province, Thursday, June 7.

Sunday's foreign ministry statement termed those actions politically motivated, pointing out that "after more than a year of investigations by Cuba and the United States. there are no credible hypotheses nor scientific conclusions that justify the actions taken by the USA government against Cuba".

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People working in The Canton Place complex, a few kilometers (miles) from the consulate, said they were just hearing about the incidents, reflecting a lack of coverage in China's entirely state-controlled media.

Cuba said it sent investigators to the home who found no potential source of a sound and were not granted access to the official.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month about the first case in China, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China had "said all the right things and have demonstrated their willingness to help us identify the vector which led to this medical incident". The incident rattled U.S. -Cuba relations, but the occurrence of similar symptoms in China has raised suspicions about whether China, Russia, or another country might be to blame.

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