Australia has abandoned the agreement related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, sparked anger from Beijing, and added further tension to the tense relationship between the two countries.
The federal government has used new powers to demolish two deals between Victoria and China.
Canberra said it has withdrawn from an agreement to protect Australia’s national interests.
The Chinese embassy in Australia has named the move “provocative.”
Canberra’s actions “will cause further damage to bilateral relations and will only hurt itself,” he said.
“It further demonstrates that the Australian government is not sincere in improving relations between China and Australia,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.
This is the first time Canberra has used the power to refuse business with a state, municipality, or public university. The law allows the government to revoke agreements that are deemed to threaten Australia’s national interests.
In addition to dealing with China, Foreign Minister Marize Payne also broke the agreement between Iran and Syria. These were memorandums of understanding between the Education Department of Victoria and Iran, signed in 2004, and a scientific cooperation agreement signed with Syria in 1999.
Senator Payne said the four agreements were “inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or at a disadvantage to our diplomatic relations.”
She spoke with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, defending the government’s decision and saying she did not expect China to retaliate.
“I think Australia is acting for our national interest. We are very careful and very considerate in that approach.” She spoke to an AM radio show..
With two agreements in 2018 and 2019, Victoria’s decision to sign China’s Belt and Road Initiative has been criticized by the federal government and then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Large-scale infrastructure projects aimed at expanding global trade relations have funded trains, roads and ports in many countries, but some are in debt.
United States Xi Jinping president is seen as a bid boldly the geopolitical influence is particularly critical of the so-called “debt diplomacy” of China.
The move to break ties with the initiative is backed by growing tensions between Canberra and Beijing.
China is Australia’s largest trading partner and, prior to the pandemic, was the largest source of foreign college students. Relations have deteriorated in recent years, leading to diplomatic and trade turmoil.
Trade relations have been particularly tense since Australia first requested a rigorous investigation into the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic in April.
Details of tensions between Australia and China:
Canberra has taken other steps to curb China’s influence, including banning telecommunications giant Huawei from building Australia’s 5G network and tightening foreign investment laws. It was.
Still, the Australian government has denied that the new veto is aimed at China. Senator Payne said local governments and publicly funded universities have notified her of more than 1,000 foreign transactions.