© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Australian flag flutters in front of the Great Hall of the People during a welcoming ceremony for Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (not in picture) in Beijing, China, April 14, 2016. REUTERS / Jason Lee
BEIJING (Reuters) – China's state economic planner said Thursday it had "indefinitely" suspended all activities as part of the China-Australia strategic economic dialogue amid strained Beijing-Canberra relations.
"Recently, some Australian Commonwealth government officials have taken a number of measures to disrupt normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia on the grounds of the end of the Cold War and ideological discrimination," the National Development and Reform Commission said in an explanation the decision.
Relations between China and Australia have deteriorated over the past year after Canberra called for an international investigation into the causes of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to trade reprisals from Beijing.
In April, Australia canceled two contracts between its state of Victoria and China under Beijing's flagship Belt and Road Initiative and prompted the Chinese embassy in Canberra to warn that bilateral relations, which were already strained, would inevitably deteriorate.
Reuters reported this week that Australia is considering a 99-year lease of a port in the north of the country to a Chinese company, according to a government source.
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