8th December, 2021
Australia will join the United States in a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.
The United States has said its government officials will boycott February’s Beijing Olympics because of China’s human rights “atrocities”.
The declaration came just weeks after talks aimed at easing tense relations between the world’s two largest economies. read more
China said the United States would “pay the price” for its decision and warned of countermeasures in response, but gave no details.
Morrison said Wednesday’s decision came because of Australia’s struggles to re-open diplomatic channels with China to discuss alleged human rights abuses in the far western region of Xinjiang and Beijing’s moves against Australian imports. read more
Announcing the plans, Morrison said Beijing had not responded to several issues raised by Canberra, including the rights abuse accusations.
“So it is not surprising therefore that Australian government officials would not be going to China for those Games,” Morrison told reporters in Sydney.
A spokesperson of China’s embassy in Canberra, the Australian capital, 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,” the spokesperson added in an online statement.
The Australian Olympic Committee said the boycott would have no impact on athletes’ preparations for the Games, adding that “diplomatic options” were a matter for governments.
Other U.S. allies have been slow to commit to joining the boycott.
Britain is considering approving limited government attendance at the event from Feb. 4 to 20 in the Chinese capital that would stop short of a full diplomatic boycott, the Telegraph newspaper said on Wednesday.
An outright ban on ministerial and diplomatic representation at the Winter Games remains a possibility, it added.
Japan is considering not sending cabinet members to the event after the United States announced its diplomatic boycott, the Sankei Shimbun daily said on Wednesday, citing unidentified government sources.