China refutes Trump's fentanyl comments

"What President Trump concluded on Twitter is groundless."

China on Tuesday denied it was to blame for fentanyl deaths in the United States after President Donald Trump accused Beijing of reneging on its promise to crack down on the opioid.

US authorities have accused China of being the main source of the potent drug, which caused 32,000 overdose deaths in the United States last year alone.

Fentanyl sellers have used parcel services to send the drug to the United States, and China had also vowed to step up customs checks. But Trump wrote on Twitter last month that while China had pledged to stop exports of fentanyl, “this never happened, and many Americans continue to die!”

But a senior official of the China National Narcotic Control Commission said yesterday that there have been no cases of producing, selling or trafficking fentanyl reported in China since May 1 when China started class scheduling of all fentanyl-like substances.

“What President Trump concluded on Twitter is groundless,” Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the commission and an official with the Ministry of Public Security, said.

The drug enforcement agencies of China and the United States have maintained sound cooperation over the years, which seldom involved fentanyl-related case investigations, Liu said.

The Chinese side has reported 383 pieces of information of fentanyl-related parcels to US drug enforcement agencies since 2012, while the US side reported only six clues related to fentanyl trafficking to China during the period, he said.

“Strict drug control is China’s consistent position,” Liu said, adding that China is ready to deepen cooperation with other countries, including the United States, to exchange information, share clues and launch joint investigations.

China has launched thorough investigations into bio-medical bases and chemical industrial parks across the country to rule out possible illegal production of fentanyl-related substances, clear out fentanyl sales and purchase information online and strengthen control over legal fentanyl products since May. China’s National Narcotics Laboratory has spent nearly 6 million yuan (US$846,450) on research including fentanyl-related substance testing, and at least 616 million yuan will be invested to develop five subordinate narcotic laboratories across the country.

The country has also been working on several legal documents for conviction and sentencing in fentanyl-related cases.

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