US President Joe Biden has confirmed that he is mulling a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, CNN reported.
“It’s something we’re considering,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office following a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
A senior administration official told CNN that Biden is not expected to attend the upcoming Olympics in China in February 2022 and that his administration is on the verge of implementing a diplomatic boycott of the games, the report said.
The President has not signed off on having no government officials attend, the senior administration official cautioned on Wednesday, but discussions regarding the matter have all leaned in that direction, the report added.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that the decision to consider a boycott of the Olympics “doesn’t say anything” about the Biden-Xi meeting.
“(W)e’ve said from … the beginning of this administration, as it relates to how we engage with China, that we see it through the prism of competition, not conflict,” Psaki added.
Psaki repeated the administration’s serious concerns about China’s human rights abuses, adding that “certainly, there are a range of factors as we look at what our presence would be”.
When pressed for more information about what a potential diplomatic boycott would entail, and what that would mean for athletes, Psaki said she didn’t have an update about what the US presence would be.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have advocated for a diplomatic boycott in protest of China’s human rights abuses.
Some Republicans have even suggested no American athletes attend either, but the official said a full boycott is unlikely right now, the report added.
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