U.S. says boycotting Beijing Olympics with allies may be on agenda

Apr 07 , 2021.3 hours ago – 06:55 KYODO NEWS

The 2022 Beijing Winter Games organizing committee unveils the official Olympic and Paralympic mascots Bing Dwen Dwen (L) and Shuey Rhon Rhon in the Chinese capital on Sept. 17, 2019. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department said Tuesday that a potential boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is among the issues Washington hopes to discuss with its allies and partners, amid growing criticism of China’s human rights record.

“It is something that we certainly wish to discuss. And that is certainly something that we understand that a coordinated approach will be not only in our interests, but also in the interests of our allies and partners,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a press conference, when asked whether a joint boycott is among the options to be considered.

He also reiterated U.S. concerns over China’s human rights abuses against the Muslim Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region.

Meanwhile, Price said the United States will continue to work with Japan and South Korea toward North Korea’s denuclearization after Pyongyang decided to skip this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, an event that may have spurred some diplomacy among the countries.

“We are aware of reports that North Korea has decided not to participate in the Summer Olympics, which would appear consistent, in fact, with the DPRK’s stringent response to COVID-19,” he said, referring to North Korea by its formal name of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We will continue to coordinate closely with the Republic of Korea and with Japan on DPRK issues in pursuit of our shared goals of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and across the Indo-Pacific,” the spokesman added.

North Korea made an abrupt announcement on Tuesday that it will not send a team to the Tokyo Olympics in order to protect its athletes during the novel coronavirus pandemic, becoming the first nation to formally pull out of the delayed games.

The global sporting event was seen by South Korea as a possible chance to promote inter-Korean relations, which have cooled amid a stalemate in nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

Japan, for its part, has been looking to the Olympics as an opportunity to engage with North Korea in an effort to secure the return of citizens abducted by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s.