The White House called China’s decision to halt cooperation with the US in combating drugs trafficking, particularly illegal fentanyl, “unacceptable,” as Beijing continued to criticize US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s travel to Taiwan.
China launched new military maneuvers surrounding Taiwan on Monday, a day after the anticipated conclusion of its largest-ever operations in reaction to the highest-level US visit to the Chinese-claimed island in 25 years.
In addition to the drills, Beijing announced this week the cancellation or suspension of a number of lines of cooperation with Washington, including theater-level military discussions and exchanges on climate change, transnational crime, and counternarcotics.
Rahul Gupta, head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), expressed disappointment with the decision in light of the continuing fentanyl overdose crisis that has claimed more than 100,000 lives in the United States in the last year.
Despite China’s prohibition on fentanyl and similar derivatives in 2019, it continues to be a major supplier of illegal fentanyl and fentanyl-related compounds trafficked into the United States.
Beijing claims that its efforts to carefully regulate drugs, especially fentanyl, have been recognized internationally.
Prior to China’s suspension of collaboration, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed the fentanyl issue during a phone call in July and tasked their teams with doing follow-up work.