Beijing says Australia is “making excuses” to justify its “wrong decision” of barring Huawei Technologies from participation in the country’s next generation of mobile telecommunications networks.
Australia’s federal government yesterday released a statement barring Huawei, and any other Chinese firm, from participating in the construction of the nation’s 5G mobile communications network, citing potential security risks.
While the government did not name any companies specifically, the mandate bars the participation of any firm “likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government”, ruling out not only Huawei, which is the world’s biggest investor in technology research and development with a $US15 billion spend, but also smartphone manufacturing group ZTE.
The move brings Australia closely in line with the United States, which has also barred Chinese manufacturers from its telecoms infrastructure on similar national security concerns.
China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Beijing was “gravely concerned” over that position.
“The Chinese government always encourages Chinese enterprises to carry out economic cooperation with others while abiding by international rules and local laws,” Mr Lu said.
“The Australian side should know better than citing all sorts of excuses to erect artificial hurdles and enforce discriminatory measures.
“We urge the Australian side to abandon its ideological bias and level the playing field for Chinese enterprises’ operation in Australia.”
China’s Ministry of Commerce described the decision as “wrong”, predicting negative consequences for Australian business.
“The Australian government has made a wrong decision and by doing so, it will have a negative impact on the commercial interests of Chinese and Australian companies,” the ministry said on its website www.mofcom.gov.cn.
Huawei Australia is being sought for comment.