Australia will not be sending government officials to attend the Winter Olympics Games in China, joining the United States diplomatic boycott. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that Beijing had not addressed concerns raised by Canberra on several fronts, particularly human rights abuses.
Australia will not step back from the strong position we've had standing up for Australia's interests, Morrison told reporters in Sydney. It is not surprising therefore that Australian government officials would not be going to China for the Olympic Games, he said.
However, the Australian Olympic Committee confirmed Canberra's decision would not influence the estimated forty Australian athletes who are expected to compete at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.
Australia added that the decision was because of difficulties in reopening diplomatic channels to Beijing, human rights abuses in Xinjiang province and Beijing's cutting of Australian sales
In effect, according to Canberra, Chinese officials refuse to address with Australian counterparts sensitive bilateral issues. The boycott has the potential of further straining relations with China, which happens to be the Wallabies leading trade partner.
Beijing is furious with Australia for blocking Huawei from the country's 5G broadband network and for having called for an independent investigation into the origin of Covid 19. In retaliation, Beijing imposed tariffs on Australian coal, iron, beef, barley and wine, among other produce.