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Mexico Asks China for Help to Control Fentanyl Shipments

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday he had sent a letter to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping urging him to help control shipments of the synthetic opioid fentanyl sent across the Pacific.

Lopez Obrador read out the letter during a news conference in which he defended his country’s efforts to curb trafficking of the lethal drug in the face of U.S. criticism.

Fentanyl has been blamed for fueling a surge in overdose deaths in the U.S., and Republican lawmakers have accused the Mexican government of not doing enough to stop drug cartels trafficking the powerful painkiller into the United States.

U.S. and Mexican officials argue that the ingredients used to make fentanyl are chiefly sent from Asia, but Lopez Obrador argues Mexico is not a production hub for the drug.

Some Republicans have urged Washington to authorize the use of military force in Mexico to tackle the problem, a suggestion that has been vigorously rejected by Lopez Obrador.

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In his letter, Lopez Obrador complained to Xi about interference in Mexico’s affairs by U.S. lawmakers.

“We come to you, President Xi Jinping, not to ask for your support in the face of these rude threats, but to request that for humanitarian reasons, you help us control shipments of fentanyl that can be sent from China to our country,” he wrote.

Lopez Obrador then asked Xi if he could provide Mexico with information on when, where, and how much fentanyl was being sent across the Pacific, and by whom.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by Sharon Singleton)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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