U.S. officials on fentanyl talks with China: ‘It’s a good start.’

BEIJING – The U.S. and China have a “good start” in fighting the fentanyl crisis, according to National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby. Kirby spoke to the media after leaders of both countries met to discuss counternarcotics cooperation.

“It was a good set of discussions. They committed to cooperate on increased law enforcement coordination to tackle the distribution and export of precursor chemicals for the opioids that are taking so many lives,” Kirby said.

China has also agreed to address illicit financing and to increase information-sharing between the two governments. While Kirby is optimistic about the meeting, he would like to see more concrete and measurable actions that reduce the amount of precursor fentanyl chemicals coming out of China.

“That’s a good start, but it is just a start. There’s a lot more work to be done,” Kirby said.

As Emily’s Hope previously reported, the meeting comes after years of a lack of cooperation between the two countries. In November President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping made a breakthrough and pledged to restart counternarcotics cooperation.

The U.S. delegation includes officials from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Justice, Homeland Security, State and Treasury departments.

“What was interesting was the PRC reciprocated, and they brought a whole-of-government delegation as well,” Kirby said.

Despite Beijing’s ban on fentanyl sales in 2019, the Drug Enforcement Administration reports that China and Mexico are the primary source countries of fentanyl and fentanyl precursors trafficked directly into the United States.