Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Wednesday that his country will join the United States in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics due to human rights concerns.
After the country’s relationship with China deteriorated in recent years, Morrison said it should come as no surprise that Australian officials would boycott the event.
Morrison stated, “I’m doing it because it’s in Australia’s national interest.” “It’s the right thing to do,” says the narrator.
Australian athletes, he claimed, would still be able to compete.
Morrison said China had been critical of Australia’s efforts to build a strong defense force in the region, “particularly in relation, most recently, to our decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines,” in addition to citing human rights violations.
He stated that his government was eager to discuss their differences with China.
“There has been no impediment from our side,” Morrison said, “but the Chinese government has consistently refused to accept those opportunities for us to meet.”
Human rights organizations have called for a complete boycott of the games, accusing China of human rights violations against ethnic minorities. The US and Australian decisions fall short of those demands, but they come at a particularly tumultuous time in international relations, and they have sparked a barrage of criticism from China.
Morrison’s announcement would have no impact on the arrangements for the 40 or so Australian athletes expected to compete at the games, according to the Australian Olympic Committee.
“Our greatest challenge remains to get the athletes to Beijing safely, competing safely, and bringing them home safely,” said Matt Carroll, the committee’s chief executive.
Carroll said in a statement, “Our Australian athletes have been training and competing with this Olympic dream for four years now, and we are doing everything we can to ensure we can help them succeed.”
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