The Biden administration is still weighing how to approach the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympic Games, including the possibility of a diplomatic boycott, but hasn’t reached a final conclusion, officials familiar with the matter said Tuesday.
The issue did not arise during a highly anticipated virtual summit between President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday, American officials said after the meeting.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Biden is expected to soon approve a recommendation to not send American officials to the games. Typically, the White House sends a delegation to the opening and closing ceremonies.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have advocated for such a diplomatic boycott in protest of China’s human rights abuses.
Some Republicans have gone further, insisting no American athletes attend either.
The White House declined Tuesday to say whether any boycott was planned for the upcoming games.
“I don’t have anything to add on that subject. But I can tell you that was not part of (Biden and Xi’s) conversation,” deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US and allies are in “active conversations” about how to approach the upcoming Winter Olympics in China.
Blinken, appearing virtually at the New York Times DealBook Summit, was asked whether he thinks US athletes should participate since he has said in the past that China is involved in genocide, given its policies toward Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province.
“We are talking to, to allies, to partners, to countries around the world about how they’re thinking about the games, how they’re thinking about participation,” Blinken said. “It’s an active conversation. We’re coming, we’re coming up on the games, but let me leave it at that for today.”
The games are set to begin on February 4 in Beijing and last until February 20. When asked what date the deadline is for the US and other countries to make a decision, Blinken sidestepped.
“Well, let’s see,” he said. “The games are coming up, when, in February, early in the year, so before then.”
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