DHARAMSALA, August, 23: In yet another blow to China, Australia has banned two Chinese tech giants from building 5G infrastructure in the island citing it as a potential risk to the national security.
Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE have been blocked from building 5G infrastructure in Australia on national security grounds, reports Inkstone, an English-language daily briefing on China-focused news and stories.
According to the report, a statement issued by the Australian government said that it was risky to involve ‘vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law.’
Though the statement did not directly mention the Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE, Huawei confirmed on Twitter that both companies had been blocked from providing 5G technology in Australia, the report added.
“We have been informed by the Govt that Huawei & ZTE have been banned from providing 5G technology to Australia,” Huawei Australia said in a tweet.
The development has hugely unsettled China and China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang has said that it was extremely concerned after Australia’s government banned Chinese telecoms firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] from supplying equipment for the country’s planned 5G mobile network at a daily news briefing in Beijing earlier today.
While Huawei is said to have close links with the Chinese military, as its founder Ren Zhengfei was a former officer at the People’s Liberation Army, ZTE has already been identified as a ‘potential risk to the national security’ by both the US and Britain.
The snub to the Chinese firms came at a time when tensions were on the rise between the two countries; Australia passed new foreign interference laws earlier in June and the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull cited ‘disturbing reports about Chinese influence’ as justification for the measures.