XI EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR TOKYO OLYMPICS, OTHER GAMES
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday told International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach that his country will support the holding of this summer's Tokyo Games, as the novel coronavirus outbreak has shown few signs of easing soon in Japan, according to Kyodo News.
The Japanese news agency cited Xinhua News Agency which quoted Xi as saying during a telephone conversation with Bach that China is confident in hosting the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics next year on schedule despite the pandemic.
Xi's remarks came as calls are mounting both at home and abroad for the Tokyo Games to be postponed or canceled amid the virus spread, while China has been facing Olympic boycotts by democratic nations condemning its alleged human rights violations.
In April, Japanese government sources said Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi backpedaled on a previous pledge to cooperate in making the Beijing Olympics a success during a telephone call with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in the same month.
The change in stance indicated that Japan, a close U.S. ally, has started to fall into step with the administration of President Joe Biden, which has ramped up criticism of China's alleged human rights abuses in its far-western Xinjiang region.
Xi, however, may be trying to prevent relations between China and its neighbor Japan from souring further by expressing support for the Tokyo Games, as Sino-U.S. tensions have been escalating over several economic and security matters, pundits say.
The Chinese Communist-led government has been accused of the mass detention of the country's Muslim Uyghur minority who oppose growing state surveillance under a "re-education" campaign in Xinjiang.