Putin willing to join opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics

Dec 16 , 2021. 13 hours ago – 21:03 KYODO NEWS

BEIJING – Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed willingness to attend the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics during his virtual summit on Wednesday with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

Putin’s remarks come as the United States and some other democratic countries such as Britain and Australia intend to implement a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games slated for February next year.

“I expect that we will finally be able to meet in-person in Beijing next February. As we agreed earlier, we will hold talks before attending the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games,” Putin was quoted by the news agency as telling Xi.

Japan, a close U.S. ally that has heavily relied on China in economic terms, is also considering not sending Cabinet ministers to the Beijing Olympics, in line with the U.S.-led diplomatic boycott amid mounting criticism over China’s alleged human rights abuses.

With Putin pledging to join the ceremony of the Beijing Games and South Korean President Moon Jae In vowing not to mull a diplomatic boycott, the world could be divided into two groups in the lead up to the global sporting event, foreign affairs experts warn.

Putin told Xi, “We have been constantly supporting each other in regard to international sports cooperation, including on the inadmissibility of any attempts of politicization of sports and the Olympic movement,” according to TASS.

Photo taken in Beijing on Dec. 9, 2021, shows logos of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. (Kyodo)