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World

Australia Cancels Belt and Road Deal with China, citing Inconsistency with Foreign Policy

  • On Wednesday, Australia announced that it would revoke the Victorian state government's deal to join the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, stating that it was inconsistent with the nation's foreign policy.
  • The Australian government passed legislation last year that introduced provisions allowing the state to redact any agreements with foreign countries that deemed to threaten national interest.
Updated 21 Apr 2021

On Wednesday, Australia announced that it would revoke the Victorian state government's deal to join the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, stating that it was inconsistent with the nation's foreign policy.

The Australian government passed legislation last year that introduced provisions allowing the state to redact any agreements with foreign countries that deemed to threaten national interest.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne stated that the federal government would formally override the Victorian state government's decision to sign up to the Belt and Road Initiative; a vast network of investments that under Beijing's massive geopolitical influence.

"I consider these four arrangements to be inconsistent with Australia's foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations," she said in a statement.

The announcement comes at a time of deteriorating relations between Beijing and Canberra, with the two governments under intense strain over trade, and competing for geopolitical influence in the Pacific.

Australia has drawn the ire of its Chinese counterparts by calling for an independent probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.