Just days earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday the formation of a task force in response to "unexplained health incidents" affecting U.S. diplomats and their family members.
It also advised any United States citizen, or their family members, who experience "any unusual, unexplained physical symptoms or events, auditory or sensory phenomena, or other health concerns" to contact their doctor.
Reacting to the reports of the mysterious sound attacks on the U.S. diplomats, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing today that Beijing had investigated the May 23 allegation and found no clue.
Secretary Mike Pompeo appears to be trying to avoid the uproar caused past year after USA lawmakers and the public found out about the medical incidents in Cuba more than six months after they started happening, by some counts. The retelling of his and his wife's experience to the Times heavily resembles what the diplomats in Cuba reportedly suffered: headaches, odd physical symptoms, and occasional "unusual noises". American diplomats working at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou developed symptoms in at least two apartment complexes, including the Canton Place apartments, after a possible sonic attack.
President Trump, Tillerson, and State Department officials have said they believe the Cuban government knows what occurred and who is responsible.
"As a result of the screening process so far, the Department has sent a number of individuals for further evaluation and a comprehensive assessment of their symptoms and findings in the United States", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Wednesday.
The nationwide alert advises USA personnel to contact a doctor if they experience unusual or unexplained physical symptoms.
Now the American embassy in China has sent its second alert in two weeks to citizens warning of unexplained health issues that have prompted a number of U.S. government employees working at a consulate in a southern city to be moved back to the US.
Asked about the latest incidents, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the USA had not formally raised the matter with Beijing.
The State Department has set up a task force that will direct a multi-agency response to mysterious health incidents that have caused symptoms ranging from concussions to hearing loss in US diplomats who were stationed in Cuba and China.
She stressed that medical professionals will continue to conduct full evaluations to determine the cause of the reported symptoms and whether the findings are consistent with those experienced by previous personnel or are possibly "completely unrelated".
Canada in April also ordered families of diplomatic staff in Cuba to return home after mysterious health symptoms were detected in 10 Canadians stationed on the island. Canada mentioned the 10 continued to point out unexplained mind signs and that "medical info raised considerations for a brand new sort of a attainable acquired mind harm".
As part of its response, the United States also expelled 17 Cuban diplomats from Washington, and issued a travel alert for USA visitors to the island.
Pompeo had previously said on May 23 the Guangzhou incident was very similar to the mysterious sound-related illnesses experienced by U.S. personnel in Cuba in 2016 and 2017, a statement which was reiterated by his department on Wednesday.
More than 2 million US citizens travel to China each year, and about 175,000 Americans hold Chinese resident visas.
Sen. Jeff Flake said Thursday that the State Department was "trying to work through it" and it was "obviously" concerned "about the health and safety of its diplomats".
"This is very unusual", it added.