(CNN) — President Joe Biden is not expected to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics as his administration is on the verge of implementing a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Games, a senior administration official told CNN.
The President has not yet formally signed off on having no government officials attend, the senior administration official cautioned, but discussions regarding the matter have all leaned in that direction. The Washington Post was first to report on the news.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have advocated for a diplomatic boycott in protest of China’s human rights abuses. Some Republicans have even suggested no American athletes attend either, but the official said a full boycott is unlikely right now.
The topic of the Olympics and Biden’s attendance did not come up during his three-and-a-half hour meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping Monday night.
On Tuesday, Biden was asked whether there would be a US delegation to the Beijing Olympics. The President — who had his back turned when the question was asked — replied: “I’m the delegation and I dealt with it.”
However, White House deputy press secretary Chris Meagher clarified on Wednesday that “the President was not providing an update in his answer last night.”
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US and allies are in “active conversations” about how to approach the upcoming Winter Olympics in China.
Blinken, appearing virtually at the New York Times DealBook Summit, was asked whether he thinks American athletes should participate since he has said in the past that China is involved in genocide, given its policies toward Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province.
“We are talking to, to allies, to partners, to countries around the world about how they’re thinking about the games, how they’re thinking about participation,” Blinken said. “It’s an active conversation. We’re coming, we’re coming up on the games, but let me leave it at that for today.”
The games are set to begin on February 4 in Beijing and last until February 20. When asked what date the deadline is for the US and other countries to make a decision, Blinken sidestepped.
“Well, let’s see,” he said. “The games are coming up, when, in February, early in the year, so before then.”
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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