US and China begin talks on fentanyl trafficking in sign of cooperation amid differences


BEIJING (AP) — U.S. and Chinese officials met Tuesday to discuss joint efforts stop the flow of fentanyl In the US, it is a sign of cooperation as the two global powers attempt to manage their contentious relations.

The two-day meeting was the first meeting of the new anti-narcotics working group. One focus of the conversation was on fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that is ravaging America, and specifically the ingredients for the drug that are made in China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed To restart cooperation in some areas, including drug trafficking, when he and US President Joe Biden met outside San Francisco in November. These agreements were a small step in strained relations key differences On issues ranging from trade and technology to Taiwan and human rights.

America wants China to take more steps to curb export of chemicals It says it is processed into fentanyl, primarily in Mexico, before the final product is smuggled into the United States.

Chinese Public Security Minister Wang Xiaohong said the two sides had in-depth and practical talks.

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“We have reached consensus on the action plan for the working group,” he said at the group’s inaugural ceremony.

The head of the US team, Jen Daskal, deputy homeland security adviser at the White House, said Biden had sent a high-level delegation “to underscore the importance of this issue to the American people.”

China used to be a major supplier of fentanyl, and the US has credited Beijing for a 2019 crackdown that “led to a dramatic reduction in seizures of fentanyl shipments from China.” Now he wants Beijing to stop it export of content Known as “predecessors”.

synthetic opioid They are the biggest killers in the deadliest drug crisis ever seen in America. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there could be more than 100,000 deaths from drug overdoses in 2022. More than two-thirds contained fentanyl or similar synthetic drugs.

China has previously rejected US appeals for help as relations between the two global powers have deteriorated, often responding that the US should look inward to solve its domestic problems and blame them on China. Should not be blamed.

When China formally put the talks on hold in 2022 suspended cooperation in several areas, including narcotics, to protest the visit of then US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.

The ice began to melt in the lead up to the Biden-Xi meeting in November 2023. a US Senate delegation fentanyl issue suppressed on a visit to Beijing in October and said Chinese officials sympathized with victims of America’s opioid crisis.

But China refused to discuss cooperation until the US lifted sanctions on the Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Sciences. The Commerce Department imposed sanctions in 2020 alleging the institute’s complicity in human rights violations against the Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in China’s Xinjiang region.

The US quietly agreed to lift the ban on fentanyl in exchange for cooperation. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi acknowledged “the hurdle of unilateral sanctions has been overcome” a speech on China-US relations earlier this month.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller called it an “appropriate step”, given what China is willing to do on the trafficking of fentanyl precursors.

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