The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has confirmed Australian officials will not attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, joining the United States in a diplomatic boycott of next year’s Games and prompting accusations from Beijing of political posturing. Morrison told reporters in Sydney it was “not surprising”, given the deterioration in the diplomatic relationship between Australia and China, that officials would not attend next year’s winter Games.
“Australian athletes will, though,” he said on Wednesday. “Australia’s a great sporting nation and I very much separate the issues of sport and these other political issues.”
Morrison said he would like to see longstanding tensions between Australia and China resolved, but his government did not intend to “step back from the strong position we had standing up for Australia’s interest”. Confirming the diplomatic boycott, Morrison raised human rights abuses in Xinjiang as one of the factors Australia had “consistently raised”. He said the Chinese government had not made itself available to talk through Australia’s concerns about human rights.