(Updates with comments to Reuters)
WARSAW, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Poland’s President Andrzej Duda will attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, a top aide confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday, as a number of Western countries call for a diplomatic boycott of the Games.
A U.S. boycott to protest against China’s human rights record has been joined by Australia, Britain, Canada and Japan.
“Poland is a sovereign nation and decides its own politics towards China. … Poland is an ally of the United States but Poland also has a very friendly relationship with China,” Duda’s foreign affairs advisor Jakub Kumoch told Reuters.
Officials have told Reuters that, as Poland’s relationship with the United States has worsened under President Joe Biden’s administration, it’s no longer in Poland’s interests to continue criticising China simply to please the Americans.
The Polish president’s relationship with China has been positive recently, with him making a surprise appearance at the 17+1 summit with China as other central European nations sent lower ranking officials. Duda has said Poland plans to take advantage of its geographical location to boost its role in trade between Europe and China.
Poland’s state news agency PAP first reported on Duda’s plan to attend the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The Netherlands and Denmark have also pledged to join a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
China denies rights abuses and has condemned the boycott as betraying Olympic principles. (Reporting by Joanna Plucinska and Alan Charlish; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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