Australia severs regional ‘Belt & Road’ deals with China, FM Payne says deals with Beijing inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne during a press conference in the Prime Ministers Courtyard at Parliament House on March 17, 2021 in Canberra, Australia. Prime Minister Morrison will send emergency coronavirus vaccines to Papua New Guinea to protect frontline health workers as soaring infection rates pose a “clear and present danger’’ to Australia’s north after PNG recorded 82 positive cases from 91 tests processed in a day, leading Queensland on Tuesday to suspend charter flights from the OK Tedi Mine in PNG’s Western Province to Cairns. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne during a press conference in the Prime Ministers Courtyard at Parliament House on March 17, 2021 in Canberra, Australia.  (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 5:45 PM PT – Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Australia has ceased all economic partnerships with Mainland China under its Belt and Road Initiative due to risks of political pressure by Beijing.

“If China comes knocking and says: ‘Hey, by the way, there’s all this money here you can use for infrastructure. Oh, no problem, don’t worry about it,’” Caleb Bond, political analyst for ‘The Advertiser – Australia,’ stated. “Pull the other one. They’re not doing this out of goodwill.”

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The decision by Australia’s central government came in response to the state of Victoria joining Belt and Road several years ago. The deals were inked by Victorian officials back in 2004 and 2018, but Foreign Minister Marise Payne said those accords are now inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy and are void.

“China has been going around basically buying different islands,” Bond added. “They offer loads of money to islands in the South Pacific. They take the money, they spend it on whatever it is they want to build. They then default. They can’t pay the money back, China sweeps in and takes the island. It’s as simple as that or they call them in for favors, whatever is beneficial at the time. And it would be no different with Victoria.”

Foreign Minister Payne also said Australia holds China responsible for the spread of COVID-19 and is continuing the probe into the origins of the virus.

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Source OAN

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