Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, vowed to attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, making him the first key western leader to specify his attendance. Putin shared his remarks in a video call with Xi Jinping, the President of China. The announcement comes a mounting number of nations joined a diplomatic boycott of the event. Many countries accused China of human rights abuses in Uyghur, which Beijing denies.
China is facing accusations of genocide in its oppression of the predominantly Muslim minority in Uyghur. Moreover, Chinese suppression of political freedoms in Hong Kong and concerns for Peng Shuai, the tennis player of China, who was not publicly spotted for weeks after she accused a top Chinese government official of sexual assault in November, are also among the diplomatic matters that arose. As a result, the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom said their high-level officials would boycott the Beijing Games diplomatically.
Russia-China ties set an example in 21st century, says Vladimir Putin as the Russian president holds virtual meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Putin also told Xi that he stands against the politicisation of Olympics. @Jem_Chapman brings you the latest from Moscow pic.twitter.com/i43dUmuBS9
— WION (@WIONews) December 15, 2021
However, athletes from these nations will still participate in the games. China aimed at nations joining the diplomatic boycott, saying the Chinese would pay the price of their wrongdoings. A spokesman at the Chinese foreign ministry, Wang Wenbin, noted that the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom used the Olympics platform for political maneuvering.
Russian Military Buildup Near Ukraine
On Thursday, Japanese prime Minister Fumio Kishida noted that he had no plans to attend the Winter Olympics Games at the moment. Russia made extensive military, scientific and economic ties with China. The Russian president seeks support in his mounting conflict with the west over his army buildup near Ukraine. During their conversation, Xi and Putin raised mutual concerns over the three-sided Aukus security agreement between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
In return, the Chinese president said that he supported the demands of Putin for the latest security guarantees in Europe, according to Yuri Ushakov, the Kremlin aide. Furthermore, he realizes what concerns Russia has concerning its western borders. The promise of the Russian president to attend the Winter Olympics would mark a rare foreign trip for the Coronavirus-shy Putin.
Putin and Xi Abroad Travel History
Only two times, Putin traveled abroad since the outbreak of the COVID-19 – to the Geneva summit in June to meet the U.S. President Joe Biden and New Delhi, India, to meet Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister. On the other hand, Xi has not publicly flown from China since 2019.
Putin’s assurance came as a senior American official arrived in Moscow for dialogs with Russian diplomats. Moreover, Karen Donfried, the United States assistant secretary of state, had earlier toured Kyiv, where she told media that under no conditions would U.S. press Ukraine into making compromises to Russia. In Moscow, she met Sergei Ryabkov, the Russian deputy foreign minister, and the talks lasted for one hour.
Ryabkov also said he would officially propose the security guarantees Russia sought from the NATO countries, including the U.S. Russia demanded assurances that Ukraine will not join the NATO alliance and will not serve as a foundation for the infrastructure of the military alliance.