China & US In Talks To Tackle Fentanyl Crisis

As a step toward managing their tense relationship, officials from the United States and China met on Tuesday to plan collaborative actions to stop the import of fentanyl into the United States.

A newly formed counternarcotics working group held its inaugural two-day meeting.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is devastating the United States, and the Chinese chemicals used to make it were topics of discussion. When President Xi Jinping of China and President Joe Biden met outside of San Francisco in November, they pledged to resume collaboration in several areas, including drug trafficking. Despite deep divisions over Taiwan, human rights, commerce, and technology, the accords represented a modest improvement.

To prevent the smuggling of fentanyl into the US, the US is requesting that China take more measures to limit the export of ingredients that are allegedly transformed into the drug. This processing takes place mainly in Mexico.

The two sides conducted detailed and practical discussions, according to Wang Xiaohong, China’s minister of public security.

President Biden dispatched a high-ranking delegation to underscore the importance of this issue to the American people, according to US team leader Jen Daskal, a White House deputy homeland security coordinator.

In the worst drug epidemic the United States has ever witnessed, synthetic opioids are the leading cause of death. According to the CDC, drug overdoses were responsible for over 100,000 fatalities in 2022. Synthetic narcotics like fentanyl were implicated in almost two-thirds.

As ties between the two superpowers worsened, China repeatedly rejected American pleas for assistance, claiming that Washington should address its issues rather than pointing the finger at China.

When China publicly ceased cooperation in drugs and other areas in 2022 in protest of then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the talks came to a halt.

Before the Biden-Xi encounter in November 2023, the ice started to melt. Chinese authorities conveyed condolences to American victims of the opioid epidemic, according to a US Senate delegation that visited Beijing in October and brought up the fentanyl issue.