[횡설수설/황인찬]diplomatic olympic boycott

The move to ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which will begin on February 4 next year, is not serious. Foreign media reported on the 20th that the British government is ‘actively discussing’ a diplomatic boycott. On the 19th, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, “I will make a decision considering the national interest.” A wave of sympathy seems to be spreading after US President Joe Biden first announced on the 18th that he was “considering” a diplomatic boycott. In response, the Chinese state-run media set a day on the 20th, saying, “There is no need to invite pretentious US officials.” The battlefield of the US-China conflict is expanding into the international sports sector.

▷The US and other countries are considering boycotts in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Tibet because of human rights abuses by China, but in fact, these issues are not new. A similar boycott claim was raised, centering on human rights groups, ahead of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. At that time, however, the heads of more than 80 countries, including US President George W. Bush and the leaders of Korea and Japan, visited Beijing. A different situation this time may be due to the growing awareness of the West that China needs to jointly contain it as it is now competing with the United States for hegemony and is a threat to global democracy and free market economy.

▷ A diplomatic boycott is a measure that sends a delegation but does not send a government delegation to the opening and closing ceremonies. Even if there is a diplomatic boycott, the game will be held normally, but it is difficult to produce a proper ‘place of harmony and festival’. The face and scale of top-level figures from each country visiting the Olympics is a variable in the success of the Games and a constant that shows the international status of the host country. In particular, Chinese President Xi Jinping intends to formalize his third consecutive term in the second half of next year. Ahead of this, China is trying to boost the mood with the Olympics followed by the Chengdu Universiade in July and the Hangzhou Asian Games in September, but this idea could be twisted.

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▷ Japan’s anxieties deepened. Japan, along with the United States, Australia, and India, is participating in the ‘Quad’, a four-nation security consultative body with the nature of containment. It is difficult to say that ‘sports is an exception’. However, China sent a delegation of 777 delegates to the Tokyo Summer Olympics in July, headed by Director of the National Sports Administration (Ministerial level), Kou Jung-won. At that time, the tournament was held amid the corona crisis, but China sent the most number of people to its Olympic expedition in history. ▷ Korea is again at a crossroads between the US and China. On the 18th, the Blue House reiterated that “the Beijing Olympics will make efforts to become an opportunity for the peace process on the Korean Peninsula,” and said, “It has not been decided whether or not President Moon Jae-in will visit China.” The government has been looking forward to the progress in the discussion of the end of the war with the Beijing Olympics as an opportunity. It is highly likely that the decision on the diplomatic boycott will be postponed by watching not only the final decision of the US but also the presence of the North Korean leadership.

Hwang In-chan, Editorial Fellow [email protected]

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