WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (REUTERS) -- The United States is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics, President Joe Biden confirmed on Thursday (Nov 18), a move that would be aimed at protesting China's human rights record, including what Washington says is genocide against minority Muslims.
"Something we're considering," Biden said when asked if a diplomatic boycott was under consideration as he sat down for a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
A diplomatic boycott would mean that US officials would not attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.
A US decision not to send diplomats would be a rebuke of Chinese President Xi Jinping just days after Xi and Biden worked to ease tensions in a virtual summit, their first extensive talks since Biden took office in January.
Activists and members of Congress from both parties have been pressing the Biden administration to diplomatically boycott the event given that the US government accuses China of carrying out a genocide against Muslim ethnic groups in its western Xinjiang region, something that Beijing denies.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki told a regular briefing on Thursday that US consideration of a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics was driven by concerns about human rights practices in Xinjiang province.
"There are areas that we do have concerns: Human rights abuses," Psaki told reporters. "We have serious concerns."