According to a number of foreign media sources on the 21st, Australian Foreign Minister Payne announced in a statement that day that the “Belt and Road” agreement signed by Victoria, Australia and China had been cancelled by the federal government of that country. Payne said in a statement that this agreement does not conform to Australia’s foreign policy.
In October 2019, China and the State of Victoria, Australia signed the “One Belt One Road” agreement, and the two sides will launch economic cooperation in various aspects such as infrastructure and trade. After the agreement was signed, many Australian government officials opposed the agreement in the name of “opacity” and stigmatized it as a “Chinese propaganda strategy.”
In December 2020, the Australian Federal Parliament passed the new “Foreign Relations Act”, which gives the federal government the power to veto state governments and other levels of government and institutions to sign agreements with foreign countries. According to reports, this move to veto the “Belt and Road” agreement is the first time that the Australian Federal Government has used the veto power granted by this bill.
In response, the Chinese Embassy in Australia responded: We express our strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the Australian Foreign Minister’s announcement on April 21 to tear up the “Belt and Road” memorandum and framework agreement signed between China and the Victorian government of Australia.
The “Belt and Road” is an economic cooperation initiative that always adheres to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and advocates the spirit of openness, tolerance, and transparency, which has brought tangible benefits to all parties involved. The cooperation between China and Victoria, Australia under the framework of the “Belt and Road” is conducive to deepening bilateral economic and trade relations, promoting the economic development of Victoria, and enhancing the well-being of the Victorian people.
Australia’s move is yet another unreasonable provocation against China. It once again shows that Australia has no sincerity in improving China-Australia relations. It is bound to cause further damage to bilateral relations, and it is bound to shoot itself in the foot.