A group of 18 US officials have applied for visas as part of a delegation to China to provide security support during the Beijing Winter Olympics after Washington announced it would carry out a diplomatic boycott of the Games, according to the “South China Morning Post”.
The United States government recently sent that application for visas for three months to China, the media shows in its digital edition.
Of the 18 names on the list, 15 of the US personnel work for the State Department and one for the Pentagon, said a source who requested anonymity, according to the publication.
“Most appear to be officials of the middle or lower rank,” the newspaper said. United States indicated to Chinese officials that applications for 40 more officials could be requested in the coming weeks.
Several countries led by the United States have announced diplomatic boycotts of the Games in Beijing, arguing for Beijing’s human rights record.
China, which will host the two-week mega-event starting February 4, has criticized those countries for violating the political neutrality required in the spirit of the Olympic Charter.
In essence, diplomatic boycotts will change nothing for both athletes and spectators. Rather, its aim is to hurt the pride of host nations like China with its capital Beijing as the only city to host a Summer (2008) and Winter (2022) Olympics.
The United States, Lithuania, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia have confirmed the diplomatic boycott. Japan announced that it would not send a ministerial delegation although it decided not to call it a diplomatic boycott. A spokesperson told reporters: “We do not use a particular term to describe how we attend.”
Both Australia and New Zealand have joined in saying it was “the right thing to do.” However, New Zealand authorities have clarified their absence of officials for “a variety of factors, but mainly related to COVID, and the fact that logistics of the trips and others around COVID are not conducive to that type of trip “.
Other member states of the European Union have yet to make a decision, arguing that they hope to find a common EU position.