Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has pursued two main policies during his six months in office: Embracing China and brutally cracking down on his country’s drug trade.

Achieving the latter goal, however, may have to come at the expense of the former, as Chinese suppliers appear to be fueling the production and trafficking of methamphetamine and related drugs to and within the Philippines.

In Asia, China is the largest source of methamphetamine precursors.

Most of the world’s seizures of raw ephedrine in 2014 took place in China, amounting to 31.6 tons, according to data cited by Reuters. The Philippines was next with 510 kilograms, much of which likely came from China.

“Although the majority of [China’s] precursor chemical production and export is intended for legitimate use, precursors are being diverted by transnational criminal organizations to produce illicit drugs,” the US State Department said in a report issued this year.

Philippines meth shabu drugs police
Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) hold up plastic bags of crystal meth, known locally as “shabu,” after they were seized following a police anti-drug operation, at a police station in Manila, Philippines, November 4, 2016.REUTERS/Ezra Acayan

 

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