China winning support for Winter Olympics - World

2022-05-13
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China winning support for Winter Olympics - World Photo taken on Oct 20, 2021 shows the cauldron during the welcoming ceremony for the flame of Olympic Winter Games at the Olympic Tower in Beijing. [Photo/Xinhua]

China has been winning enthusiastic support from abroad for its hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics, with Russia and South Korea among nations expressing their optimism for the event even as the US has soured the mood with a diplomatic boycott.

In Moscow, Russian Olympic officials have condeA liquefied gas tanker exploded at around 1 am Mondaymned Washington's diplomatic boycott of the Games-starting in Beijing in February-as counterproductive and appealed for unity in the international community.

The US action announced on Monday, encouraged for months by some members of Congress andThat approach is demonstrated by the painting's use of light so-called rights groups, comes in the face of efforts to stabilize ties between the world's two largest economies.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry made a tough response to the US move on Tuesday, and said China would take resolute countermeasures.

Also on Tuesday, the Republic of Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesman Choi Young-sam said the ROK expects the Beijing Winter Olympics to be a success and hopes they will contribute to peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia and the world, and help improve relations between the ROK and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily news conference that China and the ROK have always supported each other in hosting the Olympic Games, which demonstrates the friendly cooperation between the two countries and the closeness of the Olympic family.

The ROK was the host country of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and the Winter Youth Olympic Games 2024 will be held in Gangwon Province.

Wang noted that the Beijing Games will be a grand gathering for athletes and enthusiasts of winter sports all over the world.

China believes that the Beijing Olympics will be a peaceful and friendly event, and will play an important and positive role in enhancing solidarity and friendship of the international community, Wang said.

Sharing this view is Rodion Plitukhin, the deputy director-general of the Russian Olympic Committee. He referenced a prior US boycott, against the then Soviet Union, in his criticism of the US move on Tuesday.

The US did not send athletes to the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, and the Soviet Union responded by boycotting the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

Russian Olympics officials point to the US boycott in 1980 as an example of the action not working.

For the Winter Games in Beijing, the US boycott means its officials will not attend the event, which starts on Feb 4.

"The Russian Olympic Committee, as a fully fledged participant in the Olympic movement, is guided by the provisions of the Olympic Charter," Plitukhin said.

"It does not provide for such a way of interaction as a boycott. Referring to the practice of 1980 and 1984, it can be stated that a boycott is counterproductive, first of all, for sports and the Olympic movement."

'Meticulous' preparations

At an online news conference with Chinese and Russian media held recently by the Chinese embassy, Plitukhin said the Russian Olympic Committee feels reassured by the careful and meticulous attitude of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

"China has made full preparations for the event, especially with the international community caring much about the safety and health of athletes," Plitukhin said.

Plitukhin stressed that the purpose of the Olympic movement is to boost the unity of the world through sport, rather than making "some sort of boycott" and politicizing sports.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova earlier criticized the "disease" of "constantly discussing boycotts".

Three-time Olympic champion Irina Rodnina, now a politician in the Russian State Duma, responded to the US announcement by claiming that the US officials will not be missed.

"I do not know how this will affect the athletes of the United States. I only know that this will definitely not affect the Russian athletes," Rodnina said.

Plitukhin notes that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has said he intends to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games, was among the political figures in Russia who had criticized the talk of a boycott before it was announced.

Zhang Hanhui, Chinese ambassador to Russia, said Putin's February Beijing trip will bolster the friendship between the two countries.

"I hope that Putin's visit to the Winter Olympics in China will be successful and contribute to strengthening friendship," he said.

Zhou Jin in Beijing contributed to this story.

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