Australia scraps Belt and Road deal between China and Victoria

Australia scraps Belt and Road deal between China and Victoria

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced on Wednesday night that the BRI deal that Victoria state signed with China has been cancelled under the Commonwealth's new foreign veto laws.

Payne said she had chose to cancel four deals, including two that Victoria agreed with China in 2018 and 2019.

Payne, who makes the determinations under the foreign arrangements scheme, said the agreements were "inconsistent with Australia's foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations" under the scheme's test.

"It further shows that the Australian government has no sincerity in improving China-Australia relations", a spokesperson said in a statement.

"We express our strong displeasure and resolute opposition to the Australian Foreign Minister's announcement on April 21 to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation within the Framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and the related Framework Agreement between the Chinese side and Government of Victoria", the spokesman said.

Australia's latest move "is bound to bring further damage to bilateral relations, and will only end up hurting itself", the Chinese embassy said.

Deploying Australia's powerful new veto powers under legislation passed past year for the first time, the Federal Government ended the deal, warning it was against Australia's interests.

Scott Morrison said a year ago about belt and road that it was a program Australia's foreign policy did not recognise "because we don't believe it is consistent with Australia's national interest".

BC enacting new order restricting non-essential travel
Those details are expected on Friday. "This is not the time to go load up the Winnebago and travel around British Columbia". Today, health officials reported 2,960 new cases from the virus across B.C., including 211 in Interior Health.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews blindsided the Federal Government when he first signed the Belt and Road deal with the Chinese government in 2018.

The BRI is a massive network of Chinese-funded infrastructure projects - including new ports, pipelines, railways and highways - stretching from Asia to Europe and considered a key part of Xi Jinping's desire to link Beijing with the global economy.

The move to cut ties with the initiative comes against backdrop of deteriorating tensions between Canberra and Beijing.

It also reflects the broader principle that foreign relations are a national matter and agreements by states and territories with foreign governments should not be at odds with the federal government's policies.

Morrison's government has denied that its new veto power is aimed at China, Australia's largest trading partner and biggest source of overseas universities students before the pandemic led the country to close its borders.

Australia in 2018 passed sweeping national security laws that ban covert foreign interference in domestic politics.

Payne said Wednesday she had been alerted to more than 1,000 arrangements between foreign governments and Australia's states and territories, local governments and public universities since the laws were enacted.

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