NewsUS, China break ice in Beijing with inaugural meeting to curb fentanyl exports

US, China break ice in Beijing with inaugural meeting to curb fentanyl exports

Xi Jinping and Joe Biden
Xi Jinping and Joe Biden
Images source: © Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla

2:32 PM EST, January 28, 2024, updated: 4:43 AM EST, March 7, 2024

Reuters reported that the first meeting of the American-Chinese working group on substances used in fentanyl production, a drug linked with thousands of deaths in the United States each year, will be conducted in Beijing come Tuesday, citing a source within the US administration.

The official above characterized the meeting as a "key part" of the collective efforts of the United States and the People's Republic of China to address this issue.

It was reported that Beijing requested the United States remove the Forensic Institute of the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China from the sanctions list. However, the US administration denied having consented to lift the sanctions.

Despite this, China saw it as a prerequisite for its involvement in the restriction of the export of substances and equipment meant for fentanyl production. Fentanyl is a pharmaceutical that has been associated with the death of almost 100,000 Americans annually for years.

China takes action

The same official mentioned that the Chinese authorities began cracking down on domestic companies manufacturing chemical substances needed to produce fentanyl around November last year. This happened when the leaders of both countries, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, met in California. Beijing has also initiated talks with Mexico regarding this matter.

China's commitment to restrict the sale of chemicals and equipment used for fentanyl production to Mexican drug cartels was one of the concrete outcomes of the California summit. Washington believes that Beijing has kept its promises so far.

Jake Sullivan, the US President's National Security Advisor, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had discussions on Friday and Saturday in Bangkok. These talks touched on various subjects, including Taiwan, North Korea, and Houthi incursions in the Red Sea. A conversation between the leaders of the United States and the People's Republic of China is scheduled shortly.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over 80,000 people died in the United States in 2021 from an opioid overdose. Amongst these fatalities, 88 percent involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

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