China suspends economic dialogue with Australia

A Chinese and an Australian flag

According to South China Morning Post, China's top diplomat who is in Canberra now, blamed Australia for deteriorating ties between the nations, accusing it of economic coercion and "provocations" in a wide-ranging speech that painted Beijing as a victim.

In a statement on Thursday, a Chinese government commission accused Australia of having a "Cold War mindset".

Tehan, however, admitted that no such talks had taken place since 2017. In 2018, Australia became the first country to ban China's tech giant Huawei from its national 5G network, while previous year, the country called for an independent probe into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement on Thursday, the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission said the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue framework has been suspended, and laid the blame at Australia's feet.

Relations have been on the decline since Australia called for a probe into the origins of the virus and banned Huawei from building its 5G network.

"We believe the iron ore trading relationship between Australia and China will remain ring-fenced in relation to current political tensions between the two nations", said Atilla Widnell, managing director at Singapore-based Navigate Commodities Ptd Ltd.

"Overall, what we're seeing in Canberra and Beijing is both sides doubling down and hardening their stance", he said.

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That means B.C., with around 13 per cent of the national population, is in line for around 40,000 doses from the first shipment. Canada approved the vaccine last month and has ordered 10 million doses in total, with an option to buy 28 million more.

Last month, Australia canceled two deals signed by the state government of Victoria with Beijing's multibillion-dollar "Belt and Road" construction initiative on "national interest" grounds.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen an increasingly antagonistic China.

Reuters reported this week that Australia is reviewing the 99-year lease of a port in the country's north to a Chinese firm, according to a government source.

It was not immediately clear if the row would impact on a free trade agreement between China and Australia that came into effect in 2015.

The deal - brokered by local authorities in Australia's Northern Territory - had raised serious concern in Canberra and Washington, where it was seen as a strategic liability.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton has warned that China was militarising ports in the Asia Pacific.

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