The United States plans a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics; China threatens to retaliate against Reuters

© Reuters. File picture: On November 10, 2021, the Beijing 2022 logo appeared outside the headquarters of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Shougang Park.Reuters/Thomas Peter

Authors: Humeyra Pamuk and Steve Holland

Washington/Beijing (Reuters)-A source told Reuters that the Biden administration is expected to announce on Monday that U.S. officials will not participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, after China promised to take unspecified measures against any such diplomatic boycott. “Countermeasures.”

President Joe Biden said last month that due to criticism of China’s human rights record, including what Washington said was the genocide of ethnic minority Muslims in western Xinjiang, he was considering such a diplomatic boycott.

Some members of the US Congress have been encouraging diplomatic boycotts for months, but it will not affect the attendance of American athletes.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters that the news may be announced on Monday, after US media reports said it would be announced this week.

The White House and the State Department declined to comment.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian stated at a press conference earlier that the call for boycotts is “grand sensation” and should be stopped “so as not to affect Sino-US dialogue and cooperation in important areas.”

“If the U.S. insists on sticking to its own opinions, China will take resolute countermeasures,” he said, but did not elaborate.

The United States will next host the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028, which raises questions about how China might respond during this period.

Beijing has expressed opposition to the politicization of sports, but it has in the past penalized American sports leagues, including the American Basketball Association, for violating its political red line.

Chinese officials pointed out that they have received more than 1,500 applications from the U.S. Olympic Committee, which is responsible for submitting the list of American athletes for the Winter Olympics scheduled for February.

Despite this, they cited strict COVID-19 restrictions to limit audience attendance, and Chinese state media stated that Beijing does not intend to invite Western politicians who threaten to boycott.

Russian President Putin is the only leader of a major country to accept China’s invitation to participate in the Winter Olympics.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that given the concerns of allies and partners about China’s human rights record, the United States has been consulting with allies and partners on the “common approach” of the Beijing Olympics.

EU diplomat Stefano Sonnino said after meeting with US officials in Washington on Friday that it is important to continue to pressure China on Xinjiang’s violations, but any boycott belongs to individual member states, not the EU’s common foreign policy. .

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