China’s government has announced it is indefinitely suspending all activities under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue – the first formal freeze of a diplomatic mechanism since relations between the two countries soured.
China’s main planning body, the National Reform and Development Commission, announced the move in response to actions by the Australian government.
Beijing accused Australia of carrying out a “series of measures to disrupt normal exchanges and cooperation” and said the Commonwealth government had a “Cold War mindset” and practised “ideological discrimination”.
High-level ministerial communication had already been frozen by China’s government and this latest move comes after the Morrison government last month cancelled a Belt and Road agreement between China and the state of Victoria.
“Recently, some Australian Commonwealth Government officials launched a series of measures to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination,” the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement explaining the decision.
Relations between China and Australia deteriorated in 2020 after Canberra called for an international inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting trade reprisals from Beijing.
More to come.