‘Anomalous Health Incident’ Delays Kamala Harris’ Trip To Vietnam
According to the State Department, Kamala Harris’ trip to Vietnam on Tuesday was delayed for several hours due to concerns about “an unusual health incident” in Hanoi.
“Earlier this evening, the vice president’s traveling 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,” the U.S. embassy in Hanoi said in a statement. “After careful assessment, the decision was made to continue with the vice president’s trip.”
According to Bloomberg News, the phrase ‘anomalous health incident’ has a unique meaning. “The State Department has regularly used the term to describe the so-called Havana Syndrome, which has plagued dozens of US diplomats and intelligence employees who report feeling ill and experiencing other bizarre physical symptoms after hearing strange sounds.
The cause of the illness has yet to be discovered in the United States, and the White House on Tuesday refused to clarify whether the individual’s symptoms were similar to those seen in other Havana Syndrome instances.
Harris was scheduled to leave Singapore at 4 p.m. local time, but reporters accompanying her were “abruptly sent back to the Shangri-La hotel shortly after 3:30 p.m. local time after being loaded into vans for the planned departure from Paya Lebar Air Base.” Her plane finally took off around 7:30 p.m. local time, according to Bloomberg.
The delay was not explained by Harris’ office. Before takeoff, her spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, told reporters, “You saw her get onto the plane. She is well. All is fine,” The Daily Mail reported.
In a sudden topic shift from Biden’s failed Afghanistan withdrawal, Harris focused on talking about Christmas toys and climate changed while she visited Singapore.
“The stories that we are now hearing about the caution that if you want to have Christmas toys for your children, it might now be the time to start buying them, because the delay may be many, many months,” she said.
“So across the board, people are experiencing the issue. And, of course, the climate crisis is fueling a lot of this. When we look at the stronger typhoons that have disrupted shipping lanes and sea-level rise, which threatens port infrastructure as an example. So these are the many issues that are causing these disruptions,” Harris said.
Kamala Harris slipped from public view on Sunday for a week-long tour of Asia. She’s mostly been avoiding talking about Afghanistan, and her strategy was working until she was confronted by Singaporean leaders about it.
“I understand and appreciate why you asked the question. And I think there’s going to be plenty of time to analyze what has happened and what has taken place in the context of the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” the vice president said. “But right now, we are singularly focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who worked with us, and Afghans who are vulnerable, including women and children.”
Harris added that “we have a responsibility and we feel a deep commitment to making sure that folks who helped us are safe.”
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was blunt during his meeting with Harris. “Countries make calculations and take positions, and they have to make recalculations and adjust their positions from time to time,” the prime minister said. “Sometimes it can be done smoothly; sometimes there are hiccups. Sometimes things go awry and take time to get right.”
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