Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the decision was taken because of Australia’s struggle to reopen diplomatic channels with China to discuss alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
The Australian Olympic Committee said it would not affect the chances of a potential 40 Australian athletes competing. The Winter Olympics will begin in February 2022.
SYDNEY: Australia will join the United States in a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, a decision that sours already bitter bilateral ties.
The United States said on Monday that its government officials would boycott the Beijing Olympics because of “atrocities” of China’s human rights, just weeks after talks aimed at easing strained ties between the two superpowers.
China said the US would “pay the price” for its decision and warned of “firm retaliation” in response.
Despite the threat, Morrison said Canberra would join a diplomatic boycott of the next Winter Olympics.
“The Australian government officials (will) therefore not be going to China for those Games. Australian athletes will go though,” Morrison told reporters in Sydney.
Morrison said the decision was taken because of Australia’s struggle to reopen diplomatic channels with China to discuss alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Beijing’s steps to slow and block imports of Australian goods. .
Australian government officials have been unable to speak to their counterparts for months, instead, communication is carried out through diplomats.
The formal boycott has further strained Australia’s ties with China, its biggest trading partner, which soured after Canberra banned Huawei Technologies from its 5G broadband network in 2018 and the COVID- Called for an independent inquiry into the origins of 19.
Beijing responded by imposing tariffs on a number of Australian goods, including coal, beef, barley and wine.
Morrison said any further trade disruption would be “totally and utterly unacceptable”.
The Australian Olympic Committee said the diplomatic boycott would have no effect on the 40 Australian athletes expected to take part in the Winter Olympics starting in February 2022.