Saturday, May 25, 2024

Antony Blinken Arrives In China, ‘Flow Of Fentanyl’ Focal Point Of Talks

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New Delhi: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken touched down in Shanghai on Wednesday. During his visit, he is set to engage with business leaders before proceeding to Beijing for discussions with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, with a potential meeting with President Xi Jinping on the agenda.

Blinken’s visit underscores the ongoing efforts to stabilise the often tumultuous relationship between the two global powers. This visit follows a series of high-level engagements and working groups addressing various issues ranging from global trade to military communication.

In a brief video statement against the backdrop of Shanghai’s iconic skyline, Blinken highlighted one of the key focal points of his visit – the need to address the flow of fentanyl and synthetic opioid substances from China to the US.

“Just arrived in Shanghai in the People’s Republic of China to work on issues that matter to the American people. One of those is fentanyl, synthetic opioids, the leading killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 49. President Biden, President Xi when they met in San Francisco at the end of last year, agreed to cooperate to help prevent fentanyl and the ingredients that make it from getting the US. We’ll be working on that. Besides my counterparts in the Chinese government, I’ll be talking to students, to academics, to business leaders…We’ll be dealing with areas where we have real differences with China…face to face diplomacy matters,” he said in the video.    

Notably, despite ongoing discussions, little progress has been made in curtailing China’s supply of chemicals essential for producing fentanyl.

Blinken’s visit comes at a time when the Taiwan issue continues to simmer, serving as a potential flashpoint in US-China relations. Additionally, tensions have escalated over China’s support for Russia in its conflict with Ukraine, further straining the already complex dynamics between the two nations.

Although specific details were not disclosed, a senior State Department official, briefing reporters, hinted at Washington mulling to “take steps” against Chinese firms deemed to pose threats to US and European security interests, Reuters reported.

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