Beijing has cut all diplomatic contact with the Australian government under the bilateral strategic economic dialogue, a key communication channel. This blocks all contact between key trade officials and also at the ministerial level. It appears to be in retaliation for the Australian government’s cancellation of Victoria state’s Belt & Road agreement of 2014.
Beijing accused Australia of acting out of a “cold war mindset and ideological discrimination”. Chinese officials have increasingly refused to take calls from their Australian counterparts. But the latest action is seen as symbolic since China’s sanctions on Australian exports have been in force for some time.