Australia on Wednesday canceled two deals struck by its state of Victoria with China on Beijing’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative, prompting the Chinese embassy in Canberra to warn that already tense bilateral ties were bound to worsen, reported Reuters.
The Australian federal government scrapped both the memorandum of understanding and framework agreement signed between Victoria and China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Wednesday in an emailed statement. Two other deals between Victoria and the governments of Iran and Syria were also nullified.
“I consider these four arrangements to be inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations,” Payne said.
The bans were the first under laws passed by the national parliament in December that give the foreign minister the ability to block new and previously signed agreements between overseas governments and Australia’s eight states and territories and also with bodies such as local authorities and universities.