China says Trump's claims about fentanyl origin are false

National Narcotics Control Commission vice-commissioner Liu Yuejin noted that US fentanyl deaths continue to rise despite increasingly strict controls on the Chinese side, which he said was an indication that the drugs were not coming from China.
National Narcotics Control Commission vice-commissioner Liu Yuejin noted that US fentanyl deaths continue to rise despite increasingly strict controls on the Chinese side, which he said was an indication that the drugs were not coming from China.PHOTO: AP

BEIJING (AP) - China said on Tuesday (Sept 3) that it is not the source of the fentanyl that is killing Americans, contrary to United States President Donald Trump's recent tweets blaming China for the drug deaths.

At a briefing for the National Narcotics Control Commission, China reiterated that it is making extensive efforts towards controlling the synthetic opioid and should not be labelled the main origin of fentanyl to the US.

The drug often comes through the mail or across the Mexico border. It can be stronger and more lethal than heroin and is responsible for tens of thousands of American drugs deaths each year.

Amid the latest round of tariff increases between the two countries last month, Mr Trump blasted China in a Twitter thread in which he vowed to order all postal carriers to "search for & refuse all deliveries of fentanyl from China (or anywhere else!)."

"President Xi said this would stop - it didn't," Mr Trump added, referring to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Mr Liu Yuejin, the narcotics commission's vice-commissioner, told reporters on Tuesday: "What Trump said is completely groundless and untrue."

In a sweeping change in May, China began regulating all fentanyl-related drugs as a class of controlled substances, with the aim of curbing illegal drug trafficking. No fentanyl smuggling cases have been discovered between the US and China since the new measures were implemented, Mr Liu said.

Yet law enforcement officials in Virginia said last week that China was linked to a seizure of enough cheap fentanyl to kill 14 million people. One of the 39 people charged in the multi-state drug ring is accused of ordering fentanyl from a vendor in Shanghai.

"The illicit fentanyl that's coming in, the vast majority is from China and a lot of it is coming in through the mail," Mr G Zachary Terwilliger, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said at a news conference.

Mr Liu noted on Tuesday that US fentanyl deaths continue to rise despite increasingly strict controls on the Chinese side, which he said was an indication that the drugs were not coming from China.

 
 

He also accused "a few politicians" in the US of misleading the American public on China's work to help the US with its opioid crisis.

Chinese and US authorities are working together to handle drug crimes, he said, adding that cooperation on fentanyl has no bearing on ongoing trade negotiations between the two countries.

Mr Trump complained about China's alleged inaction on fentanyl as part of a four-tweet thread last month accusing China of stealing US intellectual property and ordering US companies to "immediately start looking for an alternative to China".