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High-Level U.S.-China Talks Focus on Tackling Fentanyl Crisis

The United States and China are scheduled to resume high-level talks in Beijing next week.
This marks a significant step in addressing the fentanyl crisis in the U.S.

Resuming Cooperation

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These talks aim to limit the flow of fentanyl into the U.S., resuming a crucial counternarcotics partnership.
The cooperation had been suspended for over a year.

China’s Pledge

China has promised greater cooperation with the U.S. in combating the fentanyl crisis.
However, it continues to deflect blame for the crisis.

China’s Stance

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Yu Haibin, a top Chinese narcotics official, asserts that the U.S. fentanyl crisis is rooted within the U.S. itself.
He claims China does not manufacture it.

Upcoming Meeting

Details of the upcoming Beijing meeting remain scarce and have not been publicly announced.
The White House has not confirmed the meeting.

U.S. Accusations

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The U.S. accuses China of complicity in its fentanyl crisis.
Opioids, including fentanyl, have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in recent years.

Meeting’s Significance

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The meeting of the U.S.-China counternarcotics working group aims to improve relations.
It is a result of a meeting between President Biden and Xi Jinping.

Trade Sanctions and Talks

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China made the resumption of talks contingent on lifting U.S. trade sanctions.
These sanctions were imposed on a Chinese government lab essential for controlling fentanyl.

Origins of the Crisis

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The U.S. opioid crisis began in the 1990s with the overprescription of legal pain medications.
It has since evolved into an epidemic involving lethal narcotics like fentanyl.

China’s Control Measures

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In 2019, China classified all fentanyl variants as controlled substances.
However, the U.S. claims Chinese companies are now supplying precursor chemicals to Mexican cartels.

Cooperation Setbacks

U.S.-China cooperation slowed due to trade sanctions and political tensions.
These included issues over Taiwan and allegations against China regarding Uyghurs.

U.S. Prioritization

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The U.S. has prioritized fighting fentanyl in improving U.S.-China relations.
Senators have discussed the drug’s impact in meetings with Chinese officials.

China’s Historical Context

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China empathizes with the U.S., relating to its historical struggles with opium.
Yu Haibin expressed a strong desire to support Americans in overcoming the crisis.

Addressing Demand and Supply

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While China suggests the U.S. should address domestic demand, experts like Vanda Felbab-Brown emphasize targeting supply and demand.
The U.S. has consumed a significant portion of the world’s opioids.

The Future of Cooperation

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There is skepticism about the effectiveness of U.S.-China cooperation on fentanyl.
The future of this partnership remains crucial in shaping the response to the ongoing crisis.

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