Pompeo Says Mysterious Sickness Among Diplomats in Cuba Has Spread to China

“The idea that someone could put together some sort of action against them, 24 of them, and the Cuban government not know who did it, it’s just impossible,” Mr. Rubio said in a Senate hearing in January.

That argument is just as applicable in China, a totalitarian state that tracks American diplomats closely.

Mr. Rubio and others also speculated that another foreign power, perhaps Russia, had been behind or part of the Havana attack. With similar problems appearing elsewhere in the world, that argument will likely gain steam, as the Cubans are unlikely to have the capacity to engage in similar attacks elsewhere in the world.

Pompeo Says Mysterious Sickness Among Diplomats in Cuba Has Spread to China
Pompeo Says Mysterious Sickness Among Diplomats in Cuba Has Spread to China

After the Havana embassy staff members fell ill, Mr. Trump expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from the United States, the most serious of a series of actions he has undertaken to unwind the new diplomacy between the countries that was opened by President Barack Obama.

Mr. Pompeo said the Trump administration has asked the Chinese government for assistance in an investigation, “and they have committed to honoring their commitments under the Vienna convention.”

The Vienna convention requires that countries protect diplomats stationed in their nations.

More than a year after the mystery attacks began in Cuba, there are few indications that American investigators are any closer to identifying what may have caused the problem. Early speculation that a sonic device may have been involved has largely been dismissed.

Wednesday’s disclosure adds another issue to a growing list of potentially difficult problems that the United States has with China, including ongoing trade disputes, increasingly aggressive Chinese efforts in the South China Seas, and negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

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