China threatens countermeasures if US boycotts Beijing Olympics

US politicians should stop calling for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics to avoid hurting bilateral ties and China will take “countermeasures” if necessary, China’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

The Biden administration is expected to announce this week that US government officials will not attend the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, a source familiar with the situation said, confirming reports by CNN and NBC.

Those calling for a boycott are “grandstanding” and should stop “so as not to affect the dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States in important areas,” said Zhao Lijian, China’s foreign ministry spokesman.

“If the US insists in wilfully clinging to its course, China will take resolute countermeasures,” he said at a news conference.

US President Joe Biden said last month that he was considering such a diplomatic boycott to protest China’s human rights record, including what Washington says is genocide against minority Muslims. The administration has been under pressure from activists and members of Congress to skip the games.

The White House declined to comment.

Four sources with knowledge of the administration’s thinking previously told Reuters that there was a growing consensus within the White House to keep US officials away from the Beijing Olympics.

The US boycott would not prevent its athletes from competing in the games, the source said.

The State Department did not respond to questions about the report late Sunday.

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