Beijing inflated Canberra’s decision to cancel two controversial Belt and Road agreements with the Victorian state government, warning that the decision would harm Australia and exacerbate relations. stress system.
Marise Payne, Australia’s Foreign Minister, invoked a bill passed by the federal government last year to cancel agreements signed in 2018 and 2019 by the Victorian government and the Reform and Development Commission. China National Development.
She also revoked the Victorian government’s separate agreements with Syria and Iran, saying they were inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy.
The decision sparked a backlash from China, with their embassy in Canberra calling the move “another absurd provocation”.
“It once again shows that Australia is not sincerely trying to improve China-Australia relations and will definitely damage the relationship,” said the embassy on the website.
Beijing affirms the Belt and Road Initiative, a center in the foreign policy of President Xi Jinping, mainly interested in promoting infrastructure and trade. But some Western capitals fear it is also a means for China to buy political influence in developing countries and expand its military might globally.
Richard McGregor, an analyst at the Lowy Research Institute, said on Thursday that the cancellation of the BRI deal was inevitable after the federal government decided to formally reconsider.
“I don’t believe the agreement should be signed in the first place; McGregor said Beijing would never allow a foreign government to make free agreements with a province.
“But the way it was not yet mounted was messy and swept up in domestic politics, while Canberra could just allow it to be abandoned and slowly expired.”
Beijing’s anger over canceled projects mark the latest in a series of disputes that have exacerbated Sino-Australian relations. The lowest level in a generation.
China is Australia’s largest trading partner, with a total two-way trade of AU $ 252 billion ($ 195 billion) in 2019. But over the past three years, relations have deteriorated. because Canberra has resisted Beijing’s more aggressive foreign policy.
In 2018, Australia was the first country to officially ban Huawei from its 5G network, while last year, Australia led calls asking for an investigation into the origin of A pandemic caused by covid-19 in Wuhan.
Beijing has Tariffs on a wide range of Australian exports and accelerated public criticism of Canberra. Before the BRI deals were canceled, Wang Xining, deputy chief of the embassy of the Chinese Embassy, accused Canberra of “colluding with the United States in the very illegal, unethical suppression of Chinese companies. by banning Huawei and persuading other countries to follow suit.
Payne told Australian radio on Thursday that the decision to cancel the four agreements was “not intended to damage Australia’s relations with any country”.
“I hope that if there are any concerns, they will be raised to the government.”
The day before Australia canceled the BRI agreements, China Shenhua Energy abandoned a coal project in the planning stage in 2008 due to “changing social and economic circumstances”. The project has generated a wave of protests from environmental groups.
This week, Fitch said the risk for Australian companies targeted by Chinese sanctions is “severe”.
“Some areas affected by Chinese actions, such as barley, copper and coal, could find a replacement Other export markets with a more limited diversification outlook, such as wine, have been more affected, the rating agency said.
Lending by Chinese policy banks under BRI declined since its peak in 2016, but Beijing shows no signs of giving up on one of the efforts signed by Xi Jinping, which was inscribed in the Chinese Communist Party’s 2017 constitution.