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(LEAD) White House denies ongoing discussions with allies to boycott Beijing Olympics

15:27 April 08, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS Seoul foreign ministry's comment in last 2 paras; CHANGES dateline)

WASHINGTON/SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- The White House on Wednesday denied any discussions with U.S. allies to jointly boycott the 2022 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Beijing as part of efforts to hold China accountable for its suppression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States will work closely with allies for their shared interests but reiterated "no discussion" is under way.

"Our position on the 2022 Olympics has not changed. We have not discussed and are not discussing any joint boycott with allies and partners," she told a daily press briefing.

"We, of course, consult closely with allies and partners at all levels, to define our common concerns and establish a shared approach. But there's no discussion under way of a change in our plans regarding the Beijing Olympics from the United States point of view," she said.

Her remarks came one day after State Department spokesman Ned Price hinted at such a possibility.

"We have consistently said when it comes to our concerns with the government in Beijing, including Beijing's egregious human rights violations, its conduct of genocide in the case of Xinjiang, what the United States does is meaningful," Price said.

"What the United States does will have impact, but everything we do that brings along our allies and partners will have all the more influence with Beijing," he said. "So clearly, we are coordinating on all of these issues of concern, and of course the Beijing Olympics is an area that we will continue to discuss."

Seoul's foreign ministry said there has been no discussion with Washington about the matter.

"I understand that there has been a change in comments from the U.S. side regarding the matter," ministry spokesperson Choi Young-sam said in a briefing on Thursday. "There is no discussion of any kind under way with our side."




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