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Several American officials have been removed from China over fears they have contracted the same mysterious illness that affected staff in Cuba.

The US employees, who were working in the southern city of Guangzhou, had reported hearing odd noises.

In 2017, twenty four US staff working at the Cuba embassy suffered brain injuries after reporting “auditory sensations”.

The incidents have raised concerns that a government or agency may be targeting the US with a new type of sonic weapon.

The cases come at a time when China-US relations have been strained amid fears of a trade war.

This month, the State Department issued a health warning to its staff saying an employee in China had reported “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure”.

Image source Pixabay

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The State Department said it was taking the reports seriously, but did not yet know the cause, and warned staff to move to a safe place if they encountered any “unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises”.

One US official was diagnosed with mild brain trauma, the same injury that affected the Cuban embassy staff.

The State Department has warned that US diplomats should alert their mission’s medical staff “if they note new onset of symptoms that may have begun in association with experiencing unidentified auditory sensations”.

It said it had sent a team to Guangzhou and set up a task force to oversee the response to the mystery attacks in China and Cuba.

Cuba has denied targeting embassy staff, and the US has not blamed the country’s government for the suspected attacks.

According to specialists, symptoms of a sonic attack may include dizziness, headaches, vomiting, bowel spasms, vertigo, permanent hearing loss and even brain damage.

The White House has announced that President Donald Trump agreed to honor America’s “One China” policy in a phone call with President Xi Jinping.

The “One China” policy is the diplomatic acknowledgement that there is only one Chinese government.

Donald Trump had placed the long-standing policy in doubt when he had a phone call with Taiwan’s president.

Previous presidents have followed China’s lead in not recognizing Taiwan as an independent nation.

Under the “One China” policy, the US recognizes and has formal ties with China rather than the island of Taiwan, which China sees as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland one day.

The White House said the two presidents discussed a wide range of issues during a lengthy call on February 9.

A statement described the call as “extremely cordial” and said the two leaders had invited each other to visit.

The call followed a letter sent by Donald Trump to Xi Jinping on February 9 – the president’s first direct approach to the Chinese leader.

Donald Trump baited China throughout his campaign, accusing it of unfair trade practices and threatening to challenge its military build up in the South China Sea.

Beijing responded cautiously, expressing “serious concern” about Donald Trump’s position on the One China policy and urging the US to maintain close ties with China.