‘Cooperation is the only right choice’: China could ‘challenge Biden to decline’ Winter Olympics visit

President Xi Jinping could invite Joe Biden to the Beijing Winter Olympics this week, potentially forcing the US leader to choose between international diplomacy and his own government's messaging on democracy and human rights.

A virtual summit between the two countries will take place this week where the offer is reportedly about to be made.

Yet with key figures in the Senate such as Mitt Romney pushing a US boycott of the showpiece, the 2022 Winter Olympics and whether American delegates will be present in Beijing is the elephant in the room. 

According to sources the outlet contacted, CNBC say the invite will "serve as a challenge for Biden to decline".

In essence, Biden is in a lose-lose situation.

Turning down the invitation would be a blow to his relationship with Xi Jinping, while an acceptance would contradicts his own administration's message on democracy and human rights over the alleged abuses of the Uyghur minority Muslims which China denies.

The White House has refused to comment on whether Biden will respond to such a proposal while it works out details of the summit.

The event will be the closest the pair have come to meeting face-to-face since Biden succeeded Donald Trump in power earlier this year, although they have conducted phone calls.

It is said that if western leaders do not attend the Winter Olympics, Xi might also not show up while citing Covid risks. 

Amid a June passing of a Bill in the US Senate that called for the Games to be diplomatically boycotted, Chinese Ambassador Qin Gang has read out a letter sent by President Xi at the National Committee on US-China Relations Gala Dinner.

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Calling for co-operation between the two countries, he said that the China-US relationship is "among the most important bilateral relationships in the world today".

"Whether our two countries, the world’s biggest developing country and the biggest developed country and two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, can handle our relations well bears on the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, and matters to the future of the world," he added.

"Right now, China-US relations are at a critical historical juncture. Both countries will gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice."

The Games are scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20.

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