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Biden Administration's Boycott of Beijing Olympics 'Minimal Option', Retired Diplomat Says

© AFP 2021 / NOEL CELISA worker paints a part of a building where the Olympic Rings are located in Shougang Park, one of the sites for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, in December 1, 2021
A worker paints a part of a building where the Olympic Rings are located in Shougang Park, one of the sites for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, in December 1, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.12.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Biden administration chose the “minimal option” available to it from the pressure it faced to boycott the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and US athletes will still be able to take part in them, retired diplomat and China relations expert Chas Freeman told Sputnik.
“Given pressure to boycott the Olympics to protest all sorts of causes, this is the minimal option”, Freeman, who was President Richard Nixon’s translator during his 1972 visit to Beijing that established the modern US-China relationship, said on Monday.
Earlier in the day, the White House confirmed that the United States will engage in a diplomatic boycott of the event, although US athletes will be allowed to participate.
Freeman said the diplomatic boycott would not affect the US athletes who would continue to participate in all the events.
“The athletes will be able to compete. They don't and won't care who is in the stands. China never intended, given COVID-19 and political issues, to invite US officials to attend in any event”, he said.
Beijing should not allow the petty slight to escalate needlessly into a new major clash between the two nations, Freeman advised.
“If China is wise, it will brush this off as a petty move that does not require a response”, he said.
Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, told Sputnik in a statement that the US diplomatic boycott was “a political manipulation” and a grave distortion of the spirit of the Olympic Charter, but added that it would have no impact on the success of the Games.
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