France will not join a diplomatic boycott by other Western countries of the 2022 Winter Olympics in the Chinese capital, Education and Sports Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said on Thursday. Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, meanwhile, said Paris was still seeking a common European Union position on the issue.
France will not join a diplomatic boycott by other Western countries of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, Blanquer told RMC radio and BFM television.
Asked about a boycott announced by the United States, Australia, Great Britain and Canada, the minister declared that France “will not do it”.
“We have to be careful about the link between sport and politics,” Blanquer said in the interview.
“Sport is a world apart which must be protected from political interference. Otherwise, things can get out of hand and it could end up killing all competitions.”
EU common position? He said France will continue to condemn human rights violations in China.
He will not be visiting the Chinese capital, he said, but young sports minister Roxana Maracineanu will represent the French government.
Foreign Minister Le Drian, meanwhile, said he was still seeking a common EU position on the issue when asked about a possible boycott at a press conference around the year same time.
“Regarding the issue of diplomatic boycott, this issue will be dealt with at European level,” he told reporters.
China warned Western countries on Thursday that they would “pay the price” for a diplomatic boycott.
Washington announced its boycott earlier in the week, saying it was motivated by widespread violations of China’s rights and what it sees as “genocide” against the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang.
(AXADLETM with AFP)
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