Australia joins US in boycotting China at Winter Olympics

The Prime Minister has confirmed that Australian officials won’t be attending the Winter Olympics.

The event is due to take place in Beijing in February, and while Australian athletes will be going over for the event, our diplomats will not.

It comes after the United States announced similar measures earlier this week and urged Australia to follow suit.


ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT


Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it shouldn’t be a surprise that Australia will also take this action given our recent political conflict.

“We have always been open to meet with the Chinese Government to talk about their concerns, whether it’s their concerns with our foreign interference legislation or foreign investment rules where Australia takes a strong stand, standing up for Australia’s interest. 

They have been critical in Australia in our efforts to ensure we have a strong national defence force.

“Most recently to our decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

“But the human rights abuses in Xinjiang and many other issues that Australia has consistently raised, we have been very pleased and very happy to talk to the Chinese Government about these issues and there’s been no obstacle to that occurring on our side, but the Chinese Government has consistently not accepted those opportunities for us to meet about these issues.

“So it is not surprising, therefore, that Australian Government officials would, therefore, not be going to China for those Games.

“Australian athletes will, though.

“Australia’s a great sporting nation and I very much separate the issues of sport and these other political issues. They’re issues between two Governments.

“We’d like to see those issues resolved, but they’re not resolved and Australia will not step back from the strong position we had standing up for Australia’s interest, and obviously it is of no surprise that we wouldn’t be sending Australian officials to those games. 

“But, our athletes will be going. And I also want to wish the IOC all the very best for the Games,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday this morning. 

When asked whether the Prime Minister expects retaliatory action from China over the diplomatic boycott, he said he didn’t.

“That would be completely and utterly unacceptable and there would be no grounds for that whatsoever.

“I’ll always stand up for Australia’s interests and what Australians believe is right and we are living in an uncertain time,” Mr Morrison said.

More to come.