China says up to US to create ‘necessary conditions’ for anti-drugs cooperation

Jul 7, 2023, 1:43 AM | Updated: 2:46 am

BEIJING (AP) — China on Friday insisted it is up to the U.S. to “create necessary conditions” for anti-drugs cooperation, following complaints from Washington that Beijing has ignored its calls for a crackdown on precursor chemicals for the highly addictive painkiller fentanyl.

China takes an “active part in international anti-narcotic cooperation and firmly opposes smears and unilateral sanctions on other countries under the pretext of the fight against drugs,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing.

“We urge the U.S. to correct wrongdoings with concrete actions and create necessary conditions for the two countries’ anti-narcotic cooperation,” Wang said.

U.S. diplomats and anti-drug officials have repeatedly complained that China has ignored calls for closer cooperation on combating the production and sale of fentanyl precursor chemicals.

Wang gave no details on the source of Chinese discontent or what conditions it was looking for. However, Washington and Beijing are at odds on a wide-range of issues, from trade to Taiwan and U.S. sanctions against the Chinese defense minister.

China was also deeply angered by a decision late last month by the U.S. Justice Department to file criminal charges against four Chinese companies and eight individuals for allegedly trafficking the chemicals used to make fentanyl in the United States and Mexico.

The indictments represented the first prosecutions to charge China-based chemical companies and Chinese nationals with illegally selling the chemicals used to make the drug, which has been blamed for a deadly overdose crisis.

The Chinese Embassy condemned the charges, accusing the U.S. government of seeking to shift the blame for its domestic drug problem.

China has also complained over sanctions leveled against the Ministry of Public Security’s Institution of Forensic Science over a lack of action on combating the production and sale of fentanyl precursor chemicals, and says U.S. claims of a pipeline of such substances from China to Mexico and into the U.S. is a fallacy.

China cut off contacts with the United States entirely on vital issues including military matters, crucial climate cooperation and anti-drug cooperation last August amid a furious reaction to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Those contacts have only partially been restored and military contacts remain entirely on hold.

Wang’s comments came as U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is visiting Beijing to try to revive strained relations. No breakthroughs are expected, and on Friday, Yellen criticized Chinese treatment of U.S. companies and new export controls on metals used in semiconductors.

There was no immediate word on whether she had raised the fentanyl issue.


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China says up to US to create ‘necessary conditions’ for anti-drugs cooperation