Australia's government has banned major Chinese telecoms firm Huawei Technologies from supplying equipment for the country's future 5G mobile network. Canberra cited risks of foreign interference and hacking.
Australia's move to sideline China's Huawei while building the country's 5G mobile network followed advice from security agencies and signaled a hardening of Canberra's stance toward its biggest trading partner as relations had soured over Australia's allegations of Chinese meddling in domestic policies.
It also brought Australia in line with the United States, which had restricted Huawei's and ZTE's access to its lucrative market for similar reasons.
The government in Canberra said in a statement 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, the statement added.
All made up?
Huawei's Australian arm denied it was controlled by Beijing and called the move "unfair" and "an extremely disappointing result for consumers."
Cybersecurity expert John Watters from FireEye Inc. said "Australia basically made a decision to spend more money to have control over its national communication system, because it's up against a competitor that will sacrifice near-term margin for long-term intelligence advantage."
Australia had previously banned Huawei from providing equipment for its fiber-optic network and moved to block it from laying submarine cables in the Pacific.
hg/aos (Reuters, AFP, AP)