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China suspends economic framework with Australia

Beijing accuses Australia of ‘Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination’. China on Thursday indefinitely suspended its framework for economic dialogue with Australia.

China’s top economic planner decided to indefinitely suspend all activities under the framework of the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, said a statement by China’s State Council Information Office.

Up until now China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and relevant Australian ministries had conducted the dialogue.

“The decision was made based on the current attitude of the Australian Commonwealth Government toward China-Australia cooperation,” the commission said.

It accused Australian officials of “series of measures to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination.”

The Chinese move came after Australia last month scuttled a deal its Victoria state had made with China as part of Beijing’s massive Belt and Road Initiative.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the 2018 deal was “inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations.”

Relations between the two countries have suffered since the COVID-19 outbreak, with Australia joining other Western allies seeking a probe into the origins of the pandemic.

Australia last year launched raids in the country including on a sitting lawmaker on suspicion of collision with the Chinese Communist party.

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