The Australian government has shredded Victoria’s controversial infrastructure agreement with China, earning the immediate ire of Beijing.
Two deals linked to China’s Belt and Road Initiative were among four Victorian government agreements deemed to be “inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or to our foreign relations”, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said last night.
The other two agreements ripped up in the first audit of major projects of its kind were with Iran and Syria, dating back as long as 22 years ago.
The move, amid already-heightened tensions with China, earned the immediate “strong displeasure and resolute opposition” of the Chinese embassy.
“This is another unreasonable and provocative move taken by the Australian side against China,” a spokesperson said, in a statement.
“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.”
Victoria’s involvement with the Belt and Road Initiative has come under increasing scrutiny given Australia’s tensions with China in recent months.