US visa application for officials to attend Winter Olympics ‘double faced,’ will catch allies off guard: observers
Published: Dec 25, 2021 07:18 PM
Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Photo:VCG

Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Photo:VCG

Despite the fact that the Biden administration announced earlier this month the decision to not send diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, the US government has applied for three-month visas for 18 personnel, including 15 personnel working for the State Department, to attend the Games, according to an exclusive report by the South China Morning Post on Friday. People familiar with the matter have also confirmed the report with the Global Times. 

The double-faced move of the US government would embarrass its allies and proved that divergences exist in the Biden administration on approaching the Beijing Winter Olympics, observers say.

SCMP quoted "two sources and a document" as saying, "Of the 18 names on the list, 15 of the US personnel work for the State Department and one works for the Pentagon," and "The US indicated to Chinese officials it might submit applications for 40 more officials in the coming months," the report noted.

The visa applications were made for those who work in the State Department and the Pentagon. ''If they cannot be counted as US officials, then who can be?'' Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times. The Biden administration took the lead in fooling US hardcore followers in not sending government officials to Beijing for the Games, after they followed suit in making similar announcements, the US took a sharp turn, this behavior is a slap in the face and will catch US allies off guard, Li added. 

Li said that it also shows there are obvious differences among departments of the Biden administration on the Beijing Winter Olympics-related discussions.

Soon after US announced the decision to not send government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Australia followed suit. Just on Friday, Japan made similar announcement that it would not send a government delegation to the Beijing Olympics.

Li said that this news once again shows the Biden administration is trapped in confusion when handling different issues related to China. The "trichotomy" plan of the Biden administration - to separate competition, confrontation and cooperation between China and the US - has muddled Washington itself. The Winter Olympics is supposed to be an agenda of cooperation, yet the US has been trying to turn them into an arena of competition and confrontation, while lacking the capability to reach that goal. 

Washington has stuck in McCarthyism when interacting with China. "McCarthy-style China policy brings no benefit to US, but it has been playing a major role in US electrol politics. That's why we are witnessing US making contradictory decisions back and forth," Shen Yi, a professor from the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told Global Times.

If the latest visa application tells anything, it is that the US itself cannot afford the negative consequences of politicizing the Beijing Winter Olympics, and it knows it has made a flawed decision, according to Shen.

The Global Times learned previously that as the host country of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, China never planned to invite US and Western politicians who hype the "boycott" topic to attend the Games, and experts said that their so-called boycott is nothing but self-deception.

China aims to present "simple, safe and splendid" Olympic Games with athletes playing the main role. The success of the Beijing Winter Olympics depends on the excellent performances of the athletes and the shining of the Olympic spirits. It has nothing to do with whether some anti-China politicians from the US or Western countries will attend or not, analysts said.  

Some view the US visa application as corrections made by the Biden administration to its earlier announcement and sign of the adjustment in US policy toward China. 

Global Times