Sullivan: Diplomatic boycott of Olympics a ‘statement of principle’
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics is a “statement of principle,” even as only a handful of countries have joined.
During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Sullivan if it is disappointing that only nine other countries joined the U.S. in withholding officials from the games, while some allies appeared to prioritize their economic ties with Beijing.
“Well, Chuck, I have to say that the premise of your question is not quite right. The United States did not go around the world knocking on every country door trying to ‘organize’ a diplomatic boycott.” Sullivan told Todd. “What we did was come out and make a statement of principle about what we, the United States, were going to do.”
The United Kingdom, Australia and Japan were among the other countries that previously announced they won’t send diplomats to the Winter Games in protest of human rights violations in China.
Sullivan also said while the U.S. and its European allies were not united on the Olympics boycott didn’t send diplomats to the event, there was broader cooperation in confronting China on the world stage.
“But if you look at the broad level of alignment with our European partners, what the Quad, with our Asian allies you can see like-minded democracies coming together on a range of challenges that China poses, whether it’s in the realm of military aggression or in the realm of economic coercion or in the realm of human rights,” Sullivan told Todd.
“And we stand, a year into this administration, stronger and more united with our allies when it comes to China than we have been at any point in recent memory,” he added.
China has sought to highlight its close relationship in Russia as tensions rise around Moscow’s potential invasion of Ukraine, with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting at the Olympics.
Sullivan cautioned that Beijing would also pay a price if Putin decides to invade Ukraine, whether or not it complied with economic sanctions, saying “they should calculate that as they consider their engagements with the Russian government over the next couple of weeks.”