International response to Beijing Olympics' US diplomatic boycott
China, Russia, France, and the International Olympic Committee comment on the recent US announcement to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics under the pretext of "human rights abuses."
China warned Tuesday that the US would "pay the price" for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The move drew opposition from Beijing, which threatened unspecified countermeasures, warning the US would "pay the price for its wrongdoing."
"Stay tuned," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily press briefing.
"The US attempt to interfere with the Beijing Winter Olympics out of ideological prejudice, based on lies and rumors, will only expose (its) sinister intentions," Zhao said.
"The Winter Olympics are not a stage for political shows and political manipulation," he added, accusing the US of "actions that interfere in and undermine the Beijing Winter Olympics."
The US decision
The US administration announced Monday a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics held between February 4-20, under the pretext of "human rights abuses," due to what it called the "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity," in a move that will not stop US athletes from competing.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said "The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games."
The International Olympic Committee described the US decision as a "purely political decision for each government, which the IOC in its political neutrality fully respects."
The announcement "also makes it clear that the Olympic Games and the participation of the athletes are beyond politics and we welcome this," an IOC spokesperson said.
Russia: Games should be "free of politics"
For its part, Russia slammed the decision, as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that "the Olympic Games should be free of politics."
It is noteworthy that Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
The Kremlin criticized Tuesday the US for announcing the diplomatic boycott, saying the Games should be "free of politics."
France coordinating with the EU
France said it was examining the issue after the announcement and disclosed Tuesday it would seek a coordinated EU response.
"We have taken note of the American decision," an official in President Emmanuel Macron's office told AFP.
Coming just six months after the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Summer Games, the Winter Olympics will be held from February 4-20 in a "closed-loop" bubble because of COVID-19 restrictions.