Some Western countries, such as the United States or Great Britain, have announced that they will not send any political representatives to the Winter Games. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Guterres is traveling for the opening ceremony.
Three weeks before the start of the Olympic Games in Beijing, the European Union is still fighting for a normalcy over a diplomatic boycott.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in Berlin said the vote was still ongoing within the EU on the issue. “This process is not yet complete in all respects.” The issue could also play a role in the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brest, France on Friday.
The United States announced weeks ago that it would not send any official representatives to the Games in China from February 4 to 20. Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand followed suit. The main reason for this is the human rights situation in the world’s most populous country. The leadership in Beijing is criticized for its treatment of Muslim Uighurs and Tibetans in Xinjiang province, but also for suppressing the democracy movement in Hong Kong and threats against Taiwan.
Olympic opening ceremony on 4 February
On the other hand, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will travel to Beijing for the opening ceremony. The Portuguese announced it in New York. “First of all, the Olympics is an extremely important event and it is an event that symbolizes the role of sport in bringing people together and promoting peace,” Guterres said. He therefore intends to appear at the opening ceremony on 4 February “without a political dimension”, “with the message that the Olympic Games should be an instrument for peace in the world”.
Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock (Greens) and Interior Minister Nancy Feser (SPD) announced in late December that they would not travel to Beijing for the Games. However, both clarified that these were their personal decisions that had nothing to do with the fundamental political decision of a diplomatic boycott. Scholz did not respond to questions about whether he had personally made the decision for or against the visit at a news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Root. (dpa)
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