Canberra: Australia on Wednesday cancelled four bilateral deals with China, Iran and Syria under new laws that give the federal government power to overrule international agreements by lower-level administrations that violate the national interest.
The cancelled deals include Victoria state’s two Belt and Road infrastructure building initiative deals with Beijing signed in 2018 and 2019, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement. Those deals triggered the legislative response.
Victoria Education Department pacts signed with Syria in 1999 and Iran in 2004 were also cancelled.
I consider these four arrangements to be inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations, Payne said in a statement.
China had previously cautioned against disrupting successful pragmatic cooperation with Victoria.
Australia in 2018 passed sweeping national security laws that ban covert foreign interference in domestic politics. Beijing protested that the laws were prejudiced against China and poisoned Chinese-Australian relations.