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22.04.2021 10:57 News >> Australia Cancels Deal With China Belt/Road Project

Australia Cancels Deal With China Belt/Road Project

Victoria state deal with Beijing, signed in 2018, now cancelled by Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

The government of Australia has scuttled a deal its Victoria state made with China as part of Beijing's massive Belt and Road Initiative, the Foreign Ministry has said.
The move came after Victoria refused to cancel its agreement with Beijing, which was signed in 2018.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne approved the cancellation of four agreements and memoranda of understanding with China, Iran and Syria, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Wednesday.
"I consider these four arrangements to be inconsistent with Australia's foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations in line with the relevant test in Australia's Foreign Relations," said Payne.
China's Belt and Road Initiative is an ambitious program to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors to boost regional integration, increase trade, and stimulate economic growth.
In the same statement, Payne approved a memorandum of understanding on energy and mineral resources cooperation between the state of Western Australia and Indonesia.
This is the first time Payne has used her new powers under legislation last year that allows her to cancel agreements signed by state and territory governments with foreign countries.
The Chinese Embassy in Australia branded the move "unreasonable and provocative."
"We express our strong displeasure and resolute opposition" to the decision, said an embassy statement, calling it "unreasonable and provocative."
"It further shows that the Australian government has no sincerity in improving China-Australia relations. It is bound to bring further damage to bilateral relations, and will only end up hurting itself," the embassy added.
Relations between Beijing and Canberra turned sour after the latter joined its Western allies in seeking a probe into the origins of COVID-19, which first appeared in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid -



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