Joe Biden announces US diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

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skier - AP
skier - AP

Joe Biden has announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in China next year.

Despite attempts to cool tensions with China, the US is not expected to send any government officials to Beijing 2022 in February.

The announcement came three weeks after Mr Biden held a conference call lasting nearly four hours with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president. Mr Xi had reportedly been planning to personally invite Mr Biden to the games, but no invitation was extended.

There have been calls for a full global boycott of the sporting event.

Human rights groups have called it the “Genocide Games” over China's treatment of ethnic minority Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential nominee, had led a group of senators who want to block funding for any proposed travel by US government officials to the Games, thereby ensuring a diplomatic boycott.

Mr Romney opposes an athlete boycott because that would enable Beijing to use the games for propaganda purposes.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat Speaker of the House, had also called for a diplomatic boycott. She has argued that sending government officials would "enable China’s abuses" and that "silence on this issue is unacceptable."

Mr Biden was expected to inform allies of the US decision as they make their own choices on whether to pursue a diplomatic boycott.

The International Olympic Committee has said the Games should be treated as "politically neutral ground.". According to the IOC, the Games "cannot address all the challenges in our world".

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