China pulls Aussie economic accord over 'ideological discrimination'

China pulls Aussie economic accord over 'ideological discrimination'

The Australian government has also reportedly sought new security advice over the port of Darwin, which has been leased to Chinese-owned company Landbridge, with some media outlets suggesting that the company could be forced to divest on national security grounds.

Sino-Australian relations have been in a downward spiral since April past year when Canberra infuriated Beijing by proposing an independent worldwide inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"China indefinitely suspends all activities under the framework of the #China-#Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue held by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission and relevant Australian ministries", China Global Television Network (CGTN) said in a tweet.

Australia's federal parliament granted veto power over foreign deals by states in December amid the deepening diplomatic dispute with China, which has imposed a series of trade sanctions on Australian exports ranging from wine to coal. China earlier said it had suspended the agreement as relations between the two sides have collapsed into acrimony.

The last meeting was in Beijing in 2017, when Australia's trade minister signed an agreement on cooperation on Belt and Road projects in third-party countries.

The Australian government has previously described the deal - created to boost trade between both sides and introduce large Chinese investors - as one of the "premier bilateral economic meetings with China".

But relations between the two have sunk into the deep freeze.

China has chose to suspend all its activities under the Strategic Economic Dialogue with Australia, a move that is likely to exacerbate the tense diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Souring relations between Canberra and Beijing have continued in recent months.

Last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government scrapped a Belt and Road deal between Beijing and the state of Victoria - part of China's massive infrastructure initiative across Asia and the world.

The deal - brokered by local authorities in Australia's Northern Territory - had raised serious concern in Canberra and Washington, where it was seen as a strategic liability.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton has warned that China was militarising ports in the Asia Pacific.

Related Articles