Beijing Olympics: Biden administrator expected to announce diplomatic boycott this week

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The move would allow the United States to send a message on the world stage to China without preventing American athletes from participating. The National Security Council, which privately discussed the boycott, declined to comment.
President Joe Biden told reporters last month he was considering a diplomatic boycott as Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including House of Commons Speaker Nancy Pelosi, advocated one to protest human rights abuses in China.

A full boycott is not expected, which means American athletes will still be allowed to compete. The last time the United States totally boycotted the Olympics was in 1980, when former President Jimmy Carter was in power.

In response to the news, Beijing warned that it would take “resolute countermeasures” against the Biden administration if the diplomatic boycott continued.

“The United States should stop politicizing sports and promoting the so-called” diplomatic boycott “so as not to affect Sino-American dialogue and cooperation in important areas,” the ministry spokesman said Monday. Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Zhao Lijian at a press conference.

Zhao called the potential boycott a “stain on the spirit of the Olympic charter” and a “sensationalist and politically manipulative” move by US politicians.

Last month’s virtual summit between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping – considered one of the most critical diplomatic talks of Biden’s presidency – did not result in any significant breakthrough. However, it served as an auspicious restart for relations after a sharp deterioration in the last year of the Trump administration and continued hostility to the Biden administration, including when U.S. and Chinese diplomats traded beards during peak in March in Alaska.

Throughout the November summit, Biden and Xi engaged in a “healthy debate,” according to a senior Biden administration official present for the discussions. Biden raised concerns about human rights, the Chinese aggression against Taiwan, and trade issues.

Almost all of the major issues Biden focuses on – including supply chain issues, climate change, North Korea, and Iran – have something to do with China. And the two countries, which have the world’s two largest economies, remain in conflict over trade, military aggression, global infrastructure, public health and human rights.

Biden has long argued that democracies can be more effective than autocracies like China, and he used the bipartisan infrastructure law to show at the national level how political parties in democracies can work together.
Xi, meanwhile, cemented his consolidation of power after the Chinese Communist Party passed a landmark resolution elevating him to its two most powerful predecessors, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. He is trying to run for an unprecedented third term at the 20th Party Congress next fall.

This story was updated with additional information on Sunday.

CNN’s Maegan Vazquez and Nectar Gan contributed to this report.


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