Thomas Bach insisted the Beijing 2022 Olympics will be "safe and secure" ©IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has insisted the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be "safe and secure", while also reiterating his stance that the Olympic Games and the IOC must be "beyond all political disputes".

The Games, which will see Beijing become the first city to host the Summer and Winter Olympics, are due to be held under substantial dispute, with China's human rights' record called into question. 

Several countries, including the United States and Britain, will diplomatically boycott the Olympics, while the well-being of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai has also been cited as a reason to criticise the Chinese Communist Party. 

Bach and the IOC have been criticised for their handling of the Peng case, during which Bach held two video calls with the former doubles world number one.

The Beijing 2022 Torch Relay has also encountered protests.

"We are looking forward to the successful Beijing 2022 Winter Games, and we have great confidence to build on our experience that we will stage and a safe and secure Olympic Winter Games for everybody," Bach insisted in his New Year's message.

"The support of the international community for these Winter Games is very evident and is very much welcome," he continued.

"The United Nations (UN) General Assembly approved the Olympic Truce Resolution by consensus of all 193 UN member states. 

"This Olympic Truce Resolution is another demonstration that we can only accomplish our mission to unite the world if everybody respects that the Olympic Games must be beyond all political disputes.

"In this way, the Olympic Winter Games 2022 can set another great example for a peaceful competition.

"The Olympic Games stand above any conflict. 

"In the Olympic Games, we all respect the same rules and each other, and in the Olympic Games, we are all equal."

Bach also heralded the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He said the Games were the most-watched ever on digital platforms and the most engaged Games ever.

The IOC President again reiterated the organisation's 2020+5 agenda, which includes a commitment to the UN's sustainable development goals.

Bach said the IOC will press forward plans for an Olympic forest in the Sahara Desert next year.

He concluded: "2022 will be a great opportunity for our Olympic community: a great opportunity to strengthen the role of sport in society and to contribute to build a better post-pandemic world. 

"2022 will be our chance to live our new Olympic motto: to go faster, to aim higher, to become stronger by standing together - in solidarity."