The US has announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China as relations continue to deteriorate between the two powers.
The White House said no official delegation would be sent to the Games because of concerns about China’s human rights record.
It however added that US athletes could attend and would have the government’s full support.
China has previously said it will take “resolute counter-measures” in the event of a boycott as hinted on by US President Joe Biden.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the boycott on Monday, saying that while US athletes would have the “full support” of the government, the administration would not contribute to the “fanfare” of the Olympics.
“US diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang,” she said. “We simply can’t do that.”
Ms Psaki said the US government did not feel “it was the right step to penalise athletes who had been training for this moment”, but that not sending an official US delegation to the 2022 Games “could send a clear message”.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called for the boycott as a means to protest against Chinese human rights abuses.