China announced that it was suspending a regular economic dialogue with Australia, in a largely symbolic move intended to signal Beijing’s growing frustration with Canberra.
The National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement Thursday it was indefinitely halting all activities under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue. While the two sides have held three rounds of talks under the mechanism since 2014, it hasn’t convened since September 2017.
The Australian dollar fell as much as 0.6% to 77 U.S. cents. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade didn’t immediate respond to a request for comment.
Australia decided last month to cancel agreements between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Victoria state, in the latest blow to ties with the country’s largest trading partner. Relations between the two sides have deteriorated as Beijing curbs imports from Australia after efforts by Canberra to restrict access by Huawei Technologies Co. and its seek a probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some Australian government officials took action to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of a “Cold War mindset” and ideological discrimination, the NDRC said. Australia is also reviewing whether to force a Chinese company to sell a lease to a strategically important port used by U.S. Marines, a move that could further stoke tensions with Beijing.
China and Australia haven’t held ministerial level meetings since the foreign ministers met in Beijing in January 2019.