U.S. President Joe Biden said he was "considering" a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on Thursday, three days after his "respectful and straightforward" virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The global leaders didn't discuss the Olympics during their 3.5-hour video call, the White House said, but they did talk about human rights issues -- the reason why Biden is weighing the move.
A senior administration official told CBS News Biden criticized China's "practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly" while adding he has a different world view than Xi. Biden also told Xi he "strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability" in Taiwan, prompting the Chinese president to threaten the U.S.
"Some people in the U.S. intend to 'use Taiwan to control China.' This trend is very dangerous and is like playing with fire, and those who play with fire will get burned," Xi said, per China's Xinhua news agency.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden has not set a timeline for the boycott decision, but American athletes wouldn't be affected either way. The athletes would still attend the Games under a diplomatic boycott, but American dignitaries would not.
This past summer, First Lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff traveled to Tokyo to represent the U.S. at the Summer Olympics and Paralympics, respectively.
Olympic boycotts have precedent in the U.S. In a full boycott, the Americans didn't send dignitaries or athletes to the 1980 Games in Russia.
The Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin Feb. 4, 2022 in Beijing.