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U.S. Seeks Reengagement with China to Stop Illicit Fentanyl as Blinken Heads to Beijing

A bag of 4-fluoro isobutyryl fentanyl, seized in a drug raid, is displayed at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory in Sterling, Virginia, Aug. 9, 2016. The U.S. is looking to reengage with China to stop the flow of illicit synthetic drugs into the U.S. AP
A bag of 4-fluoro isobutyryl fentanyl, seized in a drug raid, is displayed at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory in Sterling, Virginia, Aug. 9, 2016. The U.S. is looking to reengage with China to stop the flow of illicit synthetic drugs into the U.S. AP

The United States is “actively seeking to reengage” China on counternarcotics, including stopping the flow of illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl into the U.S., said the State Department ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Beijing in early February.

U.S. officials admit engagement between the two countries on these issues “has been limited in recent months.”

“We don’t have any recent meetings to read out or to preview,” a State Department spokesperson told VOA on Tuesday, when asked if talks to combat fentanyl have been resumed after Beijing suspended collaboration with Washington on the issue in protest of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last August.

“Though its past action has helped counter illicit synthetic drug flows, we do hope to see additional action from the PRC (People’s Republic of China) – meaningful, concrete action – to curb the diversion of precursor chemicals and equipment used by criminals to manufacture fentanyl and other synthetic drugs,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told VOA this week.

In 2019, China added fentanyl-related substances to the list of controlled narcotic drugs.

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