Australia ends China deals on national interest grounds
We are very careful and very considered in that approach, Payne told Australian Broadcasting Corp. It's about ensuring that we have a consistent approach to foreign policy across all levels of government, and it isn't about any one country, she said. It is most certainly not intended to harm Australia's relationships with any countries.
Australia has canceled two Chinese "Belt and Road" infrastructure building initiative deals with a state government, provoking an angry response from Beijing.
The bilateral deals with Victoria state were among four vetoed under new laws that give the federal government power to overrule international agreements by lower-level administrations that violate the national interest, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said late Wednesday.
The "Belt and Road" deals struck with Beijing in 2018 and 2019 triggered the legislative response.
"I consider these four arrangements to be inconsistent with Australia's foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations," Payne said.
The Chinese Embassy in Australia said in a statement the decision "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 said on Thursday, referring to the Australian government.
Global Times, the Chinese Communist Party's English-language mouthpiece, said in a headline: "Australia faces serious consequences for unreasonable provocation against China." The move "marks a significant escalation that could push icy bilateral relations into an abyss," the newspaper added.
Australia's bilateral relations with its most important trading partner are at their lowest point in decades. Chinese government ministers refuse to take phone calls from their Australian counterparts, and trade disruptions are widely seen as China imposing economic punishment.
"It's about ensuring that we have a consistent approach to foreign policy across all levels of government, and it isn't about any one country," she said. "It is most certainly not intended to harm Australia's relationships with many countries."
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)