Kamala Harris' Flight to Vietnam Delayed Due to Mysterious 'Health Incident' in Hanoi
05:46 GMT 25.08.2021 (Updated: 13:23 GMT 06.08.2022)
On Tuesday, Kamala Harris' chief spokeswoman Symone Sanders told reporters travelling on board Air Force Two that the US vice president is "well, all is fine" and that she is "looking forward to meetings in Hanoi tomorrow".
US Vice President Kamala Harris, who is currently on a tour of Southeast Asia, left Singapore for Vietnam almost three hours late due to concerns over an "anomalous health incident" in the Vietnamese capital.
The US Embassy Hanoi said in a statement on Tuesday that "earlier this evening, the vice president's travelling delegation was delayed from departing Singapore because the vice president's office was made aware of a report of a recent possible anomalous health incident in Hanoi, Vietnam".
According to the statement, "after careful assessment, the decision was made to continue with the vice president's trip".
Harris' chief spokeswoman Symone Sanders told reporters that the vice president is "well" and eager to start her working visit to Hanoi. Sanders added that the three-hour delay in Singapore "has nothing to do with the vice president's health".
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, for her part, said during a press briefing on Tuesday that Harris "wouldn't travel further to a country if there wasn't confidence in her security on the ground".
Psaki also said that "there was an assessment done of the safety of the vice president, and there was a decision made that she could continue travel along with her staff".
NBC News has, meanwhile, reported that two US diplomats in Hanoi were due to be medically evacuated in the wake of several incidents over the weekend allegedly involving "Havana Syndrome"-related symptoms.
Tuesday's developments come after Harris wrapped up her three-day trip to Singapore which saw the VP delivering remarks on US foreign policy, including issuing a warning against Beijing's growing "assertiveness" in the South China Sea. Last month, the White House said that Harris' Southeast Asia tour aims to deepen America's "engagement" in the region as well as to "strengthen relationships and expand economic support".
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The State Department has previously used the phrase "anomalous health incident" to describe the so-called "Havana Syndrome", an enigmatic disease that was first reported by American diplomats in Cuba, and later afflicted scores of US and Canadian diplomats and intelligence officials across the world.
The symptoms reportedly include a "piercing directional noise”, and head pressure, as well as nausea, dizziness, and brain fog. The number of suspected cases are currently on the rise, according to a Senate committee, with the cause of the mysterious symptoms yet to be determined by US federal investigators.