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US will “pay a price” for diplomatic boycott—China

The United States will have to “pay a price” for its diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China says, just weeks after talks aimed at easing tense relations between the two sides.

Reuters reports that the White House said on Monday U.S. government officials would boycott the Winter Olympics because of China’s human rights “atrocities”, although U.S. athletes were free to travel there to compete.

The U.S. boycott, encouraged for months by some members of Congress and rights advocacy groups, comes despite an effort to stabilise ties, with a video meeting last month between U.S. President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping.

China opposes the boycott and would take “resolute countermeasures”, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular media briefing in Beijing, the host city of the 2008 Summer Olympics, on Tuesday.

“The United States will pay a price for its mistaken acts,” he said, without giving details. “Let’s all wait and see.”

The United States is set to host the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and is preparing a bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Asked if China would consider a diplomatic boycott of the Olympic Games in the United States, Zhao said the U.S boycott had “damaged the foundation and atmosphere” of sports exchange and co-operation on the Games, which he likened to “lifting a stone to crush one’s own foot”.

He called on the United States to keep politics out of sports, saying the boycott went against Olympic principles.