Huawei: Australia has banned us from selling 5G tech

Joshua Bennett
August 24, 2018

People walk past a Huawei sign at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2018 in Shanghai, China June 14, 2018.

Like their US counterparts, Australian security authorities have for months anxious Huawei's ties to the Chinese government opened a possibility that its equipment could be used for espionage, drawing increasingly pointed denials from the firm.

The Chinese government has reacted angrily to the Australian government's decision to bar Huawei from Australia's 5G network, saying it was "gravely concerned". Pressure to push the companies out of the U.S. has only mounted in recent months and now, other countries are following suit.

Chinese tech company Huawei said on Thursday that the Australian government has blocked it from providing 5G technology for the country's wireless networks.

The Australian government said Thursday that companies that are "likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law" wouldn't be able to guarantee security of the network.

According to a statement issued by the office of Senator Mitch Fifield and acting Minister for Home Affairs Scott Morrison, the government has undertaken an extensive review of the national security risks to 5G networks.

The decision also affects ZTE Corp, a Chinese telecommunications equipment company that makes mobile devices sold in Australia through Telstra, Optus and others.

ZTE hasn't publicly commented on the matter.

Last year, Australia's government brought in rules requiring telecommunications companies to ensure they protect networks from unauthorised interference or access that might threaten national security.

Organizations and individuals in China are required by law to aid in the government's intelligence efforts, making Huawei's technology a potential instrument of espionage. However, unlike the US, Huawei has never been frozen out of the market and has been a supplier in the Australian market for 15 years and counts Vodafone, Optus and TPG among its customer base.

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China expressed "serious concern", adding that Australia should not "use various excuses to artificially erect barriers".

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