The Morrison government has torn up Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road agreement with the Chinese government, saying it falls foul of Australia’s national interest, in a move that will further inflame tensions between Canberra and Beijing.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced on Wednesday night that the Belt and Road Initiative deal – which tied the state to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature initiative to bankroll infrastructure projects around the world – has been cancelled under the Commonwealth’s new foreign veto laws.
The federal government also announced it was cancelling two Victorian government education agreements – one struck with Iran in 2004 and another with Syria in 1999. They have been ruled unlawful under the laws passed late last year.
Senator Payne said she considered the agreements to be “inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations”.
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