The White House seemed to cave to pressure from China on Wednesday when Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is not in talks about boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics in China, Breitbart reported.
The Associated Press reports that China had warned earlier Wednesday against the move.
“The politicization of sports will damage the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the interests of athletes from all countries,” a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry reportedly said. “The international community including the U.S. Olympic Committee will not accept it.”
The spokesperson also reportedly promised a “robust Chinese response” to such a move, though they didn’t specify further.
Boycotting the Olympics?
According to the AP, the communist nation’s warning came after the White House said it was “talking with allies” about a joint boycott to protest “complaints of human rights abuses.”
Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, had relayed the Biden administration’s original stance on Tuesday.
“Part of our review of those Olympics and our thinking will involve close consultations with partners and allies around the world,” Price said in a statement to reporters, according to the AP.
Price also said he didn’t “want to put a timeframe on it,” but promised that “these discussions are underway,” as the AP reported.
He went on:
It is something that we certainly wish to discuss and it is certainly something that we understand that a coordinated approach will be not only in our interest, but also in the interest of our allies and partners. So this is one of the issues that is on the agenda, both now and going forward.
White House clarifies
By Wednesday, however, Psaki had clarified to reporters that there are no discussions involving the U.S. surrounding a potential boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
“Our position on the 2022 Olympics has not changed. We have not discussed and are not discussing any joint boycott with allies and partners,” she said, according to The Hill. Psaki added:
We of course consult closely with allies and partners at all levels to define our common concerns and establish a shared approach but there is no discussion underway of a change in our plans regarding the Beijing Olympics from the United States’ point of view.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.