State Department backs off U.S. boycotting Beijing Winter Olympics, China warns of 'robust' response

The department tried Tuesday to clarify the Biden administration's position after a spokesperson suggested a joint-allied boycott.

Updated: April 7, 2021 - 9:58am

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The State Department says the U.S. was never considering joining allied countries in boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

The department made the statement Tuesday after spokesperson Ned Price floated the idea during a press conference earlier in the day.

"Our position on the 2022 Olympics has not changed. We have not discussed and are not discussing any joint boycott with allies and partners," a senior official told CNBC.

"It is something that we certainly wish to discuss," Price said earlier, according to Business Insider. "A coordinated approach will not only be in our interest but also in the interest of our allies and partners."

The games are set to be held in February 2022 in Beijing.

On Wednesday, Chinese officials condemned a potential U.S. boycott.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijan said the U.S. should not politicize the Olympics and warned of a "robust Chinese response" if the Biden administration indeed boycotts the games, according to the Associated Press.

"The politicization of sports will damage the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the interests of athletes from all countries," Lijian said. "The international community including the U.S. Olympic Committee will not accept it.”