BREAKING NEWS

Australia won't send officials to Beijing Olympics

Australia will not send officials or politicians for the Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing next year, with a final decision on whether to launch a full diplomatic boycott to be made within days, the Sydney Morning Herald said in a report on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is weighing up whether to join the United States with a full diplomatic boycott of the event, the report said citing senior government sources.

The United States on Monday said its government officials will boycott the Beijing Olympics because of China's human rights "atrocities," just weeks after talks aimed at easing tense relations between the two superpowers.

China said the US will "pay the price" for its decision and warned of "resolute countermeasures" in response.

Australia would send some kind of signal to China over its alleged human rights abuses and the treatment of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, the Sydney Morning Herald report said.

It has already been decided no Australian-based officials or politicians will attend the Olympics in February but the government is still considering whether Graham Fletcher, Ambassador to China, will attend, the newspaper said.

Australia's foreign affairs department did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment. On Tuesday, a government spokesperson said a decision on sending diplomats to the Olympics had not been made yet.

A formal boycott could further strain Australia's relations with China, its largest trading partner, which soured after it banned Huawei Technologies from its 5G broadband network in 2018 and called for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Beijing responded by imposing tariffs on several Australian commodities.

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