China on Thursday indefinitely suspended all activity under a China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, its state economic planner said.
“Recently, some Australian Commonwealth Government officials launched a series of measures to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination,” China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a short statement on the decision.
The commission did not say in the statement what specific measures prompted the action.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar fell sharply on the news and was as low as 0.7701 to the U.S. dollar.
Bilateral ties were strained in 2018 when Australia became the first country to publicly ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G network.
Relations worsened last year when Australia called for an independent investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus, prompting trade reprisals from China.
Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan said the decision by the commission was “disappointing” because the economic dialogue was “an important forum for Australia and China to work through issues relevant to our economic partnership”.
“We remain open to holding the dialogue and engaging at the ministerial level,” he said in a statement.
The last meeting was in Beijing in 2017 when Australia’s trade minister signed an agreement on cooperation on Belt and Road projects in third-party countries.
However, Australia has declined to sign agreements on direct participation in China’s flagship foreign policy initiative.