23 Aug 2018
Australia’s government has banned major Chinese telecoms firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from supplying equipment for the country’s planned 5G mobile network, citing risks of foreign interference and hacking.
The move, following advice from security agencies, signals a hardening of Australia’s stance toward its biggest trading partner as relations have soured over Canberra’s allegations of Chinese meddling in Australian politics.
It also brings Australia in line with the United States, which has restricted Huawei and compatriot ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) from its lucrative market for similar reasons.
The government said in an emailed statement on Thursday that national security regulations typically applied to telecom carriers would now be extended to equipment suppliers.
Firms “who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” would leave the nation’s network vulnerable to unauthorized access or interference, and presented a security risk, the statement said.
It did not identify the Chinese firm specifically, but a government official who declined to be named said the order was aimed at Huawei and precluded its involvement in the network.
Huawei’s Australian arm, which strenuously denies it is controlled by Beijing, said on Twitter on Thursday that the action was an “extremely disappointing result for consumers”.
Chinese law requires organizations and citizens to support, assist and cooperate with intelligence work, which analysts say can make Huawei’s equipment a conduit for espionage.
– By Tom Westbrook and Byron Kaye, Reuters, 23 August 2018.
Link to Reuters.
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