China confirms that U.S. officials have applied for visas to attend Beijing Winter Olympics

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Monday confirmed that the Chinese side has received visa applications from relevant U.S. personnel with regard to the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian confirmed this at a press briefing, when asked to comment on the reports that said the U.S. government has recently requested to send 18 officials, mainly from the State Department and the Pentagon, to China to provide security and medical support for U.S. athletes during the Beijing Winter Olympics, and may submit visa applications for another 40 officials at a later date.

Zhao noted that the U.S. side, driven by political manipulation, has earlier directed and staged a farce of not sending a diplomatic or official delegation to the Beijing Winter Olympics even though no invitation had been extended.

The Chinese side will handle the U.S. request to send a team of government officials to China and their visa applications in accordance with international customary practices, relevant regulations and the principle of reciprocity, the spokesperson said”Once again we urge the U.S. to follow the Olympic spirit in practice, refrain from politicizing sports, and stop erroneous words and acts that disrupt or undermine the Beijing Winter Olympics,” Zhao said.