By: Jake Smith, Daily Caller News Foundation
The Biden administration has formed a “working group” with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to counter a growing global narcotics and fentanyl crisis, the State Department said in a press release on Thursday.
Multiple U.S. agencies, including the State Department, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and Department of Treasury, will work with Beijing to counter the global production and trafficking of narcotics, specifically fentanyl, according to the State Department. China is chiefly responsible for shipping fentanyl precursors into Mexico, and those ingredients are then made into a final product and trafficked into the U.S., killing scores of Americans every year, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
“The U.S.-PRC Counternarcotics Working Group complements other ongoing efforts by the State Department to counter the scourge of fentanyl, including the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats,” the State Department said in its announcement on Thursday. “It is a mechanism for ongoing bilateral communication and policy and law enforcement coordination to support and implement concrete enforcement actions and exchange information on counternarcotics efforts, which will help to save lives in the United States and around the world.”
A host of delegates from the aforementioned agencies traveled to Beijing in late January for talks with Chinese officials on how to address the crisis, including through policy enactments, law enforcement and shared cooperation, according to the State Department. A top counternarcotics official in Beijing evaded responsibility for its massive role in the U.S. fentanyl crisis days before the delegation arrived in Beijing, claiming that the problem stemmed from a high American demand for the drug.
“The crisis in the U.S. is not manufactured by China; rather, its roots lie within the United States itself,” Yu Haibin, a senior Chinese counternarcotics official, said on Jan. 26.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden discussed the fentanyl issue on the sidelines of an international summit in San Francisco in November of 2023, the first meeting between the two world leaders in roughly a year. Xi promised Biden he would start taking steps to crack down on fentanyl within his own borders.
Fentanyl killed over 105,000 people in the U.S. between February 2022 and January 2023, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Fentanyl is incredibly addictive and 100 times more potent than morphine; one kilogram of the drug can kill nearly half a million people, according to the DEA.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.