In an apparent allusion to a diplomatic blockade enforced by Washington and its allies, China is demanding that the US stop “interfering” in the Beijing Winter Olympics, which begin next month.
Minister Wang Yi made the demand in a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday Beijing time, according to the Foreign Ministry.
The United States has announced that it would not send dignitaries to the Games, which begin on February 4, in protest of China’s incarceration of more than 1 million Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang’s northern province, as well as other human rights violations throughout the country.
The boycott does not preclude American athletes from competing in the Games, which are hosted under tight anti-pandemic guidelines. China has also expressed its displeasure with what it claims are requests inside the State Department to remove workers and their dependents from embassies and consulates in China due to the tightening of standards.
Wang also called for an end to US backing for self-governing Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, according to a press release issued on the ministry’s website on Thursday.
Wang also noted that, despite President Joe Biden’s professed desire for a less combative relationship with China, the US has not changed its strong political and economic policies against China.
Blinken and Wang discussed how to manage strategic risk, health security, and climate change, according to a terse statement from the State Department. The Olympics and Taiwan were not mentioned. According to the statement, Blinken emphasized the economic and security consequences caused by Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The phone conversation comes after experienced diplomat Nicholas Burns was named as the new US ambassador to China, filling a position that had been vacant for more than a year.