China slams US diplomatic boycott of Olympics as ‘ideological prejudice’

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China said Tuesday it was firmly opposed to a United States diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, threatening countermea-sures and slamming the announcement as violating “political neutrality in sport”.

“The US attempt to interfere with the Beijing Winter Olympics out of ideological prejudice, based on lies and rumours, will only expose (its) sinister intentions,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.

Moreover, Japan’s final decision about its participation in February 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games will be based on its national interests, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the United States announced it would boycott the Beijing Olympics, citing human rights abuses in China.

The boycott does not rule out the participation of US athletes in the Games, but Washington will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the event. China decried the move as politicization of sports and pledged to take retaliatory measures.

“We would like to make our own decision from the standpoint of our national interests,” he was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi was cited as saying that the country will take into account allegations of human rights abuses in China and basic values of the international community, including rule of law and respect for human rights when deciding on an official representation in the Beijing Olympics.

China has been facing persistent criticism from several nations for allegedly violating rights of ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities living in the country, as well as the tensions over the independence aspira-tions of Hong Kong and Taiwan.

South Korea sup-ports the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics despite Washington’s decision to boycott the event diplo-matically, South Korean foreign ministry spokes-man Choi Yong-sam said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the United States announced its in-tention not to send any diplomatic or official repre-sentation to the upcoming Winter Olympics in China, saying however that US athletes would still participate in the event.

China responded by ex-pressing strong dissatisfaction with Washington’s decision, promising to take decisive retaliatory ac-tions in this regard.

“Our government has been supporting a suc-cessful hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympic,” Choi said as quoted by Yonhap New Agency.

The spokesman noted that the US boycott of the event was a pure diplomatic decision. At the same time, Choi stressed that Washington had told South Korea about the decision in advance, but had not asked Seoul to follow its example.

The South Korean authorities reportedly believe that the forthcoming Olympic Games will contribute to peace and security, as well as to improving inter-Korean relations and declaring an official end to the 1950-1953 Korean War.

However, according to Choi, the South Korean government have not yet decided whether it would send an official government delegation to the event, the media said.

Beijing has repeatedly urged Washington to stop politicising sports and attempting to undermine the holding of the Winter Olympics, noting that such attitude damages the dialogue between the two countries.—APP

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