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China Has Decided ‘Not to Engage’ with U.S. to Counter Fentanyl Surge, Biden Official Says

Kemp Chester, YouTube
Kemp Chester, YouTube

By: Brandon Poulter, Daily Caller News Foundation

A Biden administration official called out China’s unwillingness to help the United States counter the smuggling of illicit fentanyl at the border during testimony at a subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

Fentanyl precursors are illegally produced in China, which find their way to Mexican cartels that process it into fentanyl and then smuggle it across the border, according to a United States and China Economic and Security Commission brief. While China was initially co-operative with U.S. efforts to crackdown on fentanyl produced in the country, it has chosen “not to engage” on the issue as of late, Kemp Chester, assistant director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said during the House subcommittee hearing on “Fighting the Flow of Fentanyl from the Southwest Border.”

“Has China helped us over the last year or two? Have you seen that level of cooperation?,” Democratic California Rep. Lou Correa, the ranking member on the committee, asked.

“As of late, over more than a year, for a variety of reasons, the PRC has decided not to engage with the United States on counter narcotics and a number of other issues. The United States would like that level of cooperation again,” Chester told the committee.

Chester works with multiple agencies to coordinate efforts in reducing the availability of heroin, fentanyl and other drugs in the United States by disrupting drug supply chains, according to his White House bio. He works with both the White House and the National Security Council to manage these partnerships.

“It’s as though every time you stop one place, something else explodes,” Correa said.

Drug seizures have surged in recent months.

Border patrol agents seized enough fentanyl to kill 2 million people in California in June. Northern border patrol has seen a surge in drug smuggling, with 1,500 pounds of drugs being seized between October 2022 and February 2023, surpassing the 1,300 pounds of drugs seized in Fiscal Year 2022.

The White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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