BEIJING (Reuters) – A senior White House official on Thursday said he believed China was “absolutely committed” to cooperating with the United States to curb illicit fentanyl, a drug which has played a major role in a devastating U.S. opioid crisis.
“I am absolutely convinced the Chinese, starting with President Xi (Jinping) down through the Minister of Public Security Zhao, are absolutely committed to doing this,” Jim Carroll, Director of National Drug Control Policy, told reporters in Beijing after meeting his Chinese counterparts.
“I fully believe that what we learned on this trip is that the Chinese government, the Chinese people, are committed to this issue, both to save lives in the United States, but also to save lives in China. I believe that.”
U.S. officials say China is the main source of illicit fentanyl, a cheap, opioid painkiller 50 times more potent than heroin, and related substances trafficked into the United States, much of them through international mail.
Beijing has cited U.S. statistics to deny that most of the fentanyl entering the United States originates in China.
In August, President Donald Trump accused Chinese President Xi Jinping of not living up to his pledges to crack down on the drug.
China labelled that “blatant slander”. It says the United States needs to do more at home to fight fentanyl abuse and reduce demand for the highly addictive drug.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)