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  29 Jan 2022, 09:11

Taiwan will not send delegation to Beijing Olympics ceremonies

 TAIPEI, Jan 29, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Taiwan will not send an official
delegation to the opening or closing of the Beijing Winter Olympics due to
China's strict pandemic controls and flight disruptions, the self-ruled
island's governing body for sport said.

   The decision comes at a time when relations between Beijing and Taipei are
at their lowest in decades with China ramping up military and economic
pressure under President Xi Jinping.

   Taiwan's Sports Administration said late Friday that its 15-member
delegation will not attend the opening and closing ceremonies due to
"pandemic prevention and flight schedules".

   Its tiny winter team, which includes four athletes, will be flying to
China from the United States, Switzerland and Taiwan, the administration
added in a statement.

   "According to the event's pandemic prevention and entry policy, flights
have been adjusted and delayed, and not all could arrive in Beijing by the
opening ceremony on Feb. 4."

   Authoritarian China regards democratic Taiwan as its own territory and has
vowed to one day seize it, by force if needed.

   Record numbers of Chinese jets are now buzzing around the island's air
defence zone and the People's Liberation Army has staged regular drills
simulating an invasion.

   China has cut off official communication with the government of President
Tsai Ing-wen since 2016 because she regards Taiwan as an already sovereign
nation.

   The last time Beijing hosted an Olympics in 2008, relations with Taiwan
were much warmer and a large delegation visited.

   Taiwan and Beijing have argued for decades about representation at the
Olympics.

   Since 1981, Taiwan has had an agreement with the International Olympic
Committee to compete under the name Chinese Taipei.

   It was a compromise that would allow Taiwan to compete in sports without
presenting itself as a sovereign nation.

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