China says country will take 'countermeasures' if U.S. diplomats boycott Beijing Winter Olympics

President Biden has said he is considering a boycott

Updated: December 6, 2021 - 9:06am

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China threatened Monday to retaliate if the U.S. proceeds with the idea of boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. 

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused U.S. politicians of grandstanding over the issue of not sending dignitaries to the event and said such a move would be an "outright political provocation," according to the Associated Press.

However, he gave no details on how China would retaliate.

President Biden has said he is considering a boycott in which U.S. athletes would still compete, He is expected this week to  make an announcement, the wire service also reports.

Supporters of such a move, including Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney, who led the successful effort to bring the 2002 Olympic Winter Games to Salt Lake, Utah, point to China's poor record on human rights including the Communist Party-led country's treatment of ethnic minorities and democracy activists. 

"Without being invited, American politicians keep hyping the so-called diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympic, which is purely wishful thinking and grandstanding," Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing. "If the U.S. side is bent on going its own way, China will take firm countermeasures," Zhao said.

In what appears to be an escalating diplomatic standoff, the United States also remains critical of China's trade policies and increasing military presence in the South China Sea, while China argues the U.S. continues to meddle in its internal affairs.