Monday, October 3, 2022

Putin slams US boycott of Beijing Olympics ahead of talks with Xi

On a key visit to China amid escalating military tensions with the West over Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics by some countries led by the US, saying attempts to politicise sports for selfish interests go against the Olympic Charter.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to declare open the 17-day-long 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on Friday.
Putin, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and 30 heads of state and international organisations are due to attend the opening ceremony, which is being boycotted diplomatically by the US, EU and several other countries to highlight the allegations of human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims in China’s restive Xinjiang province.
In his article carried by the official Xinhua news agency on Thursday ahead of his visit, Putin said, “Sadly, attempts by a number of countries to politicise sports for their selfish interests have recently intensified.”
“This is fundamentally wrong and contrary to the very spirit and principles of the Olympic Charter”, he said.
“The power and greatness of sports are that they bring people together, give moments of triumph and national pride as well as delight with fair, just and unwavering competition. And these approaches are shared by most of the countries participating in the international Olympic Movement”, Putin said in the signed article.
Beijing says its security crackdown in Xinjiang is aimed at the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) – an affiliate of the Al-Qaida faction operating in Xinjiang. The labour camps have been called regular job training.
Chinese officials say Beijing attaches great importance to Putin’s visit, as it is aimed at re-enforcing solidarity and strategic ties between the two countries in the backdrop of the growing adversity they faced from the US, EU and other western countries.
The Xinhua news agency said China and Russia’s “ever-growing friendship is not flourishing accidentally, but has been nurtured by the two leaders’ common perspective on the importance of bilateral ties and on international issues”.
Putin’s visit to Beijing comes as the US and NATO have been strengthening defenses around allies in Eastern Europe since late last year. The tensions regarding suspected annexation of Ukraine by Russia have ratcheted up in the last week, with US President Joe Biden ordering 2,000 US-based troops to Poland and Germany, and moving 1,000 more from Germany to Romania. All diplomatic talks have failed so far.
Skirting any references to military tensions with Ukraine over the Russian Federation amassing over 100,000 troops in the Ukraine border sparking speculation that Moscow may be bracing for the invasion of the member of the former Soviet bloc, Putin said he will “thoroughly discuss” key international and regional issues with Xi.
Putin said, “during the upcoming visit, President Xi and I will thoroughly discuss key issues on the bilateral, regional, and global agendas. It is symbolic that our meeting will take place during the Spring Festival – the Chinese Lunar New Year.”