China will take “countermeasures” if the US goes ahead with a diplomatic boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, the country's foreign ministry has said.
At a news conference Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the foreign ministry, said those demanding a boycott should stop “so as to not affect the dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States in important areas.
“If the US insists in wilfully clinging to its course, China will take resolute countermeasures.”
The announcement comes after US president Joe Biden announced last month that he was considering a diplomatic boycott of the games due to China’s perceived poor human rights record.
The US administration has been under pressure from human rights activists and members of congress to diplomatically boycott the games.
While athletes from the US would still take part in the Beijing Games, slated for 4 to 20 February 2022, US government officials would not attend the opening ceremony of the event.
According to reports, the Biden administration is set to confirm the boycott this week.
The notion is driven by the US’ official position that China is carrying out genocide against Muslim ethnic groups in the west of its country, who are its own citizens. Beijing, though, denies this claim.