In an interview this week with CBS News, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that while China has to cooperate more on the issue of fentanyl, which has hindered previous collaboration, it is “not about pointing fingers.” Additionally, Chinese companies may provide fentanyl precursors to the incorrect recipients by error.
“The need to discuss fentanyl, which is killing Americans, was another point you particularly stressed,” CBS News Head Foreign Affairs Correspondent Margaret Brennan questioned. “Do you honestly think the Chinese government has the power to adjust that?”
“Yes,” Blinken replied. “When it comes to fentanyl, there has to be a lot more collaboration. We have previously witnessed some of that. In reality, China put fentanyl on a forbidden list a few years ago, which had the effect of almost eradicating the amount of produced fentanyl that was being imported into the United States from China. The ingredients that can be used to create fentanyl, however, have since been flowing freely, largely to Mexico, where they are converted into fentanyl before arriving in the United States. Making sure that chemical manufacturers who are generating these precursors in China and then, occasionally, accidentally shipping them to the incorrect individuals in Mexico or other locations, as well as occasionally purposely doing so, is part of the difficulty. I made it extremely apparent to China that this is an area where meaningful collaboration is needed and desired. I think cooperation between the US and China in this area is both possible and necessary. It’s not about tearing people apart. It’s about finding a way to work together.”
Brennan then enquired, “I’ve heard senators in the U.S. suggest that the Chinese government is doing this on purpose. Do you think that’s true?”
“All I can say is that we’ve seen collaboration from them in the past, and it has made a difference,” Blinken retorted. “Over the past five years, it essentially came to an end. They have problems that they have brought up to try to justify why they aren’t doing everything they can.”