“The United States wants China to take further action to stop exporting chemicals that it claims are converted into fentanyl, mostly in Mexico, before the finished drug is brought into the country illegally.”
American and Chinese officials met on Tuesday to discuss joint efforts in managing their contentious ties, including the crackdown on the flow of fentanyl into the U.S.
The two-day gathering marked the beginning of a new working group on counternarcotics. The synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is roiling America, was one of the main topics of discussion, with particular attention paid to Chinese-made drug ingredients.
US and China Agreed to Cooperate in Drug Trafficking
During their meeting outside San Francisco in November, Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed to restart cooperation in certain areas, such as drug trafficking. These agreements were a small step forward in a relationship that has been strained by significant differences on various issues, including trade, technology, Taiwan, and human rights.
The United States wants China to take further action to stop exporting chemicals that it claims are converted into fentanyl, mostly in Mexico, before the finished drug is brought into the country illegally.
According to Chinese Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong, the two parties had thoughtful and practical discussions.
In the deadliest drug crisis the United States has ever seen, synthetic opioids are the main culprits. In 2022, drug overdose deaths accounted for nearly 100,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Over two thirds involved synthetic medications akin to fentanyl.
As ties between the two superpowers soured, China has previously rejected American requests for assistance, frequently stating that the United States should address its own internal issues rather than placing the responsibility on China.
Formal talks were halted in 2022 when China withdrew cooperation in a number of sectors, including drugs, in protest over then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.
Before the Biden-Xi summit in November 2023, the ice started to melt. During a trip to Beijing in October, a delegation from the United States Senate brought up the fentanyl issue and said that Chinese officials conveyed their condolences for the Americans affected by the opioid crisis.