The Joe Biden administration on Monday announced that US officials will not attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics after China pledged unspecified "countermeasures" against any such diplomatic boycott.
The decision came after Washington spent months wrangling with what position to take on the Games, hosted in February next year by a country it accuses of perpetrating "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
However, the US boycott would not prevent its athletes from participating in the Games. The last time the US fully boycotted the Olympics was in 1980 when former President Jimmy Carter was in office.
This decision was widely welcomed by rights groups and politicians in the US. where President Joe Biden was pressured to speak out against Chinese rights abuses.
In response to the boycott, Beijing warned it would take "resolute countermeasures" against the Biden administration if the diplomatic boycott went ahead.
"The US should stop politicizing sports and hyping up the so-called 'diplomatic boycott' so as not to affect China-US dialogue and cooperation in important areas," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a news conference Monday.
Zhao called the potential boycott "a stain on the spirit of the Olympic charter" and a "sensationalist and politically manipulative" move by US politicians.