Australian NBN ban on Chinese company creates international tension

Topic: Industry News

The relationship between China and Australia has suffered a significant blow as the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has made public their dissatisfaction over the recent ban of the Chinese company Huawei in Australia.The Australian government has banned China’s largest building networks company, Huawei, following the recommendations of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). The ASIO warned the government that working with Huawei could potentially compromise national security.Canberra has subsequently decided to ban the telecommunications company Huawei from taking part in the National Broadband Network (NBN) project.Following these recent events, Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang revealed a few days ago that the Chinese government was “deeply concerned” by the decision.”Australia should not exclude a company from participating in a fair competition on so-called national security grounds in absence of evidence,” he said.The Chinese ministry of Commerce also defined the Australian move as “unjust” and stressed that it might serve to damage diplomatic relations between the two countries significantly.Mr Danyang also pointed out that 90% of Huawei’s staff in Australia were ‘local’ and cited the company’s past record as a supplier to other projects which were similar to this latest one.Chinese investment in AustraliaSpeaking to The Age, an intelligence analyst close to the Chinese Security Services commented on these events:”There is already a deeply ingrained perception in China that Australia does not welcome the Chinese investment, especially in light of the past rejections of Chinese mining investment projects, although some of the companies had to share the blame as well,” he said.In his opinion, the Australian government should have communicated its decision to Huawei and Beijing more effectively to dispel the perception of discrimination.”The relationship between China and Australia can only move forward through more frank exchange of ideas,” added the source.On top of this, the ban on Huawei has re-ignited the debate regarding Western fears of cyber attacks on the IT infrastructure of key companies from China.

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Liz Wilson