Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin Friday said that the United States should fully bear the consequences of undermining bilateral relations and damaging China-U.S. counternarcotics cooperation.
A White House official said that China's move to suspend cooperation with the U.S. to combat narcotics trafficking, including illicit fentanyl, is "unacceptable," adding that the ongoing overdose epidemic driven by fentanyl has claimed more than 100,000 lives in the U.S. in the past year.
"In disregard of China's stern warning and repeated representations, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted on her provocative visit to China's Taiwan region, which seriously undermined the political foundation of China-U.S. relations," Wang told a daily news briefing.
The eight countermeasures from China, including suspending China-U.S. counternarcotics cooperation, are a response to the provocation. These measures are reasonable and appropriate, Wang added.
"As for the fentanyl abuse in the United States, I'd like to say that first, the root of the crisis lies in the U.S.," Wang said.
The international community, including China, has become increasingly strict in control over fentanyl-like substances. However, the abuse of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids continues to worsen in the U.S., and the number of overdose deaths is rising. The reasons for this are worth pondering by the United States, Wang said.
"According to the International Narcotics Control Board, the United States is the world's largest producer and consumer of fentanyl-like substances. Americans, who account for 5 percent of the world's population, consume 80 percent of the world's opioids," he added.
Wang said that the U.S. government lost control over prescription drugs, did not have enough publicity on the harm of drugs, and took ineffective measures to reduce drug demand, ending up with poor drug control. He said the U.S. side must face up to its own problems instead of shying away from them.
"Second, China has made great efforts to help the United States solve the fentanyl problem," Wang said.
Wang noted fentanyl is not a major problem in China and has never been abused on a large scale. He said that with a humanitarian and responsible attitude, China has been helping the U.S. resolve the fentanyl abuse crisis and working with other countries to tackle the new challenges of the drug problem.
"China is the first country in the world to implement a whole-class control of fentanyl-like substances, which is far beyond the scope of the UN convention. However, as the country with the most prominent problem of fentanyl globally, the United States has not officially established the whole-class control of fentanyl-like substances," Wang added.
He said that China showed enough goodwill and sincerity to cooperate with the United States on an extraordinary level, which is unprecedented in China's conventional drug control practice.
It plays a significant role in preventing illegal trafficking and abuse of fentanyl-like substances. It also sets an example for international counternarcotics cooperation, recognized by the international community, he said.
"Third, the responsibility of undermining China-U.S. counternarcotics cooperation rests entirely with the U.S. side," Wang added.
Wang said the U.S. side used Xinjiang-related issues as an excuse to add a few Chinese scientific research institutions, which are responsible for the detection and control of fentanyl-like substances, onto its "entity list" since 2020. Also, the U.S. side has repeatedly made negative and untrue public statements, stirred up old cases, imposed sanctions on Chinese companies under the pretext of fentanyl, and offered high rewards for arresting Chinese citizens.
The U.S. keeps misleading the public, blaming others, and deflecting responsibility for poor drug abuse governance. China has made representations to the U.S. side many times, but the U.S. side has not given feedback so far, Wang added.
"The consequences of undermining bilateral relations and damaging China-U.S. counternarcotics cooperation should be fully borne by the U.S. side," Wang said.
Wang said China's stance on strict drug control is firm. Against increasingly rampant global drug abuse, China has achieved remarkable results in drug control. As a responsible country, China will, as always, take an active part in international and multilateral counternarcotics cooperation and contribute its wisdom and strength to global drug governance.
"We also sincerely hope that the U.S. side will effectively resolve the fentanyl abuse crisis and the American people will be free from the scourge of drugs soon," he said.