Australia has canceled two agreements with China over its ambitious Belt and Road project.
On Wednesday, Australian Foreign Minister Mary Payne announced the cancellation of four agreements with China, but two agreements on the Belt and Road project are under intense discussion.
Notably, the two agreements were signed by Victoria Province with China in 2018 and 2019 instead of Australia.
Australia’s federal government was given a veto power in December that could overturn a decision made by a province or university.
Reason for cancellation of contract
Foreign Minister Penn has issued a statement explaining the reasons for foreign policy.
“I consider these four agreements to be contrary to Australia’s foreign policy or our foreign relations,” he said.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Penn reiterated that the decision was taken to create stability in foreign relations, not to target any country.
“We have received reports from various provinces about agreements with a number of foreign governments, and they have veto power under the new policy,” Penn told ABC Radio’s AM program.
He said: “This plan places special emphasis on Australia’s national interests. Ensuring the stability of our foreign relations in Australia and not specifically targeting any country.”
He said Australia was committed to relations with China and “we urge governments around the world to respect the decision-making authority of our government.”
China got angry
China objected to the decision before it was announced on Wednesday.
The Chinese embassy in Australia described it as another unjust and provocative step taken against China by Australia.
“This shows that the Australian-Government is not showing any sincerity in improving Sino-Australian relations,” the Chinese embassy said in a statement.
The Chinese embassy said the new move by Australia would further hurt bilateral relations and only end up hurting itself.
Relations between Australia and China began to deteriorate
Relations between the two countries are still strained, starting in 2018 after Australia banned Chinese tech company Khuve for 5G networks.
Australia was the first country to impose such a ban, followed by several Western countries.
The relationship became even more strained when Australia asked the world community to independently investigate the corona virus outbreak in China.
China then took tough measures against Australia and imposed a number of economic sanctions on wine and coal exports.
Why didn’t Australia settle itself?
China had demanded a national agreement with Australia for the ‘One Belt One Road’ project, but current Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did not agree.
But Victoria’s Labor State Premier Dan Andrew signed agreements with China’s National Development and Reform Commission in 2018 and 2019.
The head of the province of Victoria argued that this would lead to Chinese investment in his province.
Some countries fear that the Belt and Road project will have to take out unsecured loans from developing countries, including the Pacific Islands.
What is ‘One Belt One Road’?
The Belt and Road Initiative or ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) is an ambitious project of China.
China calls this huge project the modern incarnation of the historic ‘Silk Road’.
The Silk Road was a medieval route that connected China with the rest of Europe and the rest of Asia. Through this, business of all countries was done.
Today, China wants to build a network of roads, railways and sea routes around the world on the same lines, through which it can easily do business around the world.
Chinese President Xi Jinping talks about the progress of the whole world through this plan.
But many experts say that with these belt and road initiatives, China wants to fulfill its dream of becoming a superpower. India is also opposing him.
If China manages to build a rail-route network under its plan, it will make it easier for it to trade with the rest of the world.
On the other hand, experts from many countries, including India, describe China as a deep conspiracy.
He says China is expanding its ambitions in the guise of the modern Silk Road. He wants to enslave all the modern countries on the lines of western countries.