Sydney/Tokyo, Dec 7 (EFE).- New Zealand will not send ministerial-level representatives to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the country’s sports minister said on Tuesday, citing pandemic health security reasons.
The comments came after the United States on Monday said it will not send any diplomatic representatives to the Olympics due to “the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses” in China, as announced by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
New Zealand’s sports minister and deputy prime minister Grant Robertson told reporters that the government had decided in October not to send ministers, and that Beijing was aware of that.
“There was a range of factors but mostly to do with Covid, and the fact that the logistics of travel and so on around Covid are not conducive to that kind of trip,” Robertson said about reasons for the decision.
The deputy prime minister added that his government has “made it clear to China on numerous occasions our concerns about human rights issues – as recently as the Prime Minister talking to President Xi. They’re well aware of our view on human rights but we’d already made that decision not to attend.”
Also on Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tokyo will make a decision on whether to send diplomats to the Olympics by taking into account its “national interests.”
“We would like to make our own decision from the standpoint of our national interests,” Kishida told reporters.
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said in his daily press conference that a decision is yet to be made, but that “Japan thinks it is important that universal values of the international community, including freedom, respect for basic human rights and the rule of law, will be guaranteed also in China.”
Australia and the United Kingdom have also indicated that they are considering not sending diplomatic representatives to the Beijing Winter Olympics over Feb. 4-20. EFE