WELLINGTON, New Zealand-Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday that Australia will join the United States in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics because of human rights issues.
Morrison said it’s no surprise that Australian officials would boycott this activity after Australia’s relations with China broke down in recent years.
“I did this because it is in Australia’s national interest,” Morrison said. “This is the right approach.”
He said Australian athletes can still participate in the competition.
In addition to mentioning human rights violations, Morrison also said that China has been very critical of Australia’s efforts to build a strong defense force in the region, “especially recently we decided to buy nuclear-powered submarines.”
He said that his government is happy to discuss their differences with China.
Morrison said: “We have not encountered any obstacles here, but the Chinese government has never accepted these opportunities for us to meet.”
Human rights organizations promote a total boycott of the Olympics, accusing China of violating the rights of ethnic minorities. The decisions of the United States and Australia did not meet these requirements, but they were made during a period of unusually turbulent international relations and met with a series of criticisms from China.
The Australian Olympic Committee stated that the arrangements for the 40 or so Australian athletes expected to participate in the Olympics will not be affected by Morrison’s announcement.
“Getting athletes to safely arrive in Beijing, race safely, and take them home safely remains our biggest challenge,” said Matt Carroll, the chief executive of the committee.
Carol said in a statement: “For four years, our Australian athletes have been training and competing to realize their Olympic dreams, and we are doing our best to help them succeed.”
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.