Cheong Wa Dae says Beijing Olympic diplomatic boycott not under consideration for now

December 8, 2021

South Korea is not considering a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing and the country is still undecided on the matter, a senior presidential official said Wednesday.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, made the remarks when asked about the U.S. government’s announcement to stage a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics due to China’s human rights abuses.

The official said the U.S. informed South Korea of the diplomatic boycott, and Seoul has not decided to join the U.S. move.

“No decision has been made on our government’s participation,” the official said.

In response to the U.S. announcement, the South Korean government repeated its principled support for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, again expressing hope that it will contribute to peace and inter-Korean relations.

The Moon Jae-in administration hopes for a breakthrough in efforts to revitalize the Korea peace process from the Beijing Olympics, similar to that from the 2018 PyeongChang games.

Some view the Beijing event as a potential chance for significant progress in the Moon government’s push for the declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

Asked whether the U.S. diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics would cloud Moon’s efforts for an end-of-war declaration, the official said that there is no “direct relation” between the declaration and the Olympics.

The official also said that South Korea and the U.S. have been in consultations to declare ending the Korean War, but North Korea’s response is still in question.

Moon has stepped up diplomatic efforts to declare a formal end to the Korean War, saying such a declaration would be the first step toward peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

The Korean War, in which South Korea and a U.S.-led United Nations Command fought against invading North Korean forces backed by China, ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Moon believes an end-of-war declaration will help revive stalled peace talks with North Korea.