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WASHINGTON, April 22 -- Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Wednesday cancelled four joint projects with China, Iran and Syria after a review of foreign policy initiatives, reported Sputnik.
Two projects were part of China's Belt and Road Initiative while those with Iran and Syria centred around educational and scientific cooperation, a statement from the ministry explained. All four projects were set to take place in the Australian state of Victoria, the country's second smallest and most densely populated.
“I consider these four arrangements to be inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations in line with the relevant test in Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020,” read the statement from Marise Payne, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The news follows increased tensions between Canberra and Beijing. Despite being large trade partners, the two nations have recently gotten into disputes after China targetted Australian imports in response to calls from Canberra for an inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 virus.