Australia joins diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Games

Australia joins diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Games
# 08 December 2021 08:04 (UTC +04:00)

Australia will join the United States in a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, as other allies weighed similar moves to protest China's human rights record, APA reports quoting Reuters.

The United States on Monday said its government officials will boycott the Beijing Olympics because of China's human rights "atrocities", just weeks after talks aimed at easing tense relations between the two superpowers. read more

China said the U.S. will "pay the price" for its decision and warned of "resolute countermeasures" in response.

Morrison said the decision was made because of Australia's struggles to reopen diplomatic channels with China to discuss alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Beijing's moves to slow and block imports of Australian goods. read more

A spokesperson from China's embassy in Canberra said "some Australian politicians" were engaged in "political posturing."

"The blame for the current predicament of China-Australia relations lies squarely on the Australian side," they added in an online statement.

Other allies have been slow to commit to joining the diplomatic boycott.

Britain is considering approving limited government attendance at the Feb. 4-20 Beijing Olympics that would stop short of a full diplomatic boycott, The Telegraph reported on Wednesday.

An outright ban on ministerial and diplomatic representation at the Winter Games remains a possibility, the report said.

Japan is considering not sending cabinet members to the Beijing Winter Olympics after the United States announced its diplomatic boycott, Japan's Sankei Shimbun daily reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed government sources.

President Joe Biden's administration cited what the United States calls genocide against minority Muslims in China's far western region of Xinjiang. China denies all rights abuses.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Tuesday told a media briefing that his country opposes the U.S. diplomatic boycott and promised "resolute countermeasures" in response.