Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei pushed back against claims that its presence in Australia is a national security threat due to its close relationship with the Chinese government.
Australia may leave Huawei, the third-largest smart phone maker in the world, out of the country’s development of 5G mobile telecommunications network over fears that the Chinese government will get its hands on sensitive intelligence.
Huawei Australia Chairman John Lord and board directors John Brumby and Lance Hockridge called the criticism of the company “ill-informed” in an open letter published Monday, Reuters reported.
“Recent public commentary around China has referenced Huawei and its role in Australia and prompted some observations around security concerns,” they wrote. “Many of these comments are ill-informed and not based on facts.”
The company denied similar accusations before. Lord spoke out against claims that the company is controlled by Beijing.
“There is no ownership [of Huawei] by the [Chinese] government whatsoever — we would term our form of ownership a cooperative in western societies,” Lord said in early June. (RELATED: Huawei Denies It’s Totally Controlled By Beijing)
Australia is reportedly set to finish the 5G network by 2019 and Huawei says that denying its bid to build the 5G network would be a mistake.
“Australians are now enjoying some of the best 4G broadband in the world because of the competition and because players like Huawei,” Lord told ABC’s “RN Breakfast” on June 4. “There’s only about two other players in the Australian market.”
Both Australia and the U.S. have placed bans on the company before for security reasons.
“[Huawei] devices may pose an unacceptable risk to [the Defense] Department’s personnel, information and mission,” U.S. Army Maj. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement in early May. “In light of this information, it was not prudent for the Department’s exchanges to continue selling them to [Defense Department] personnel.”
Australia banned Huawei from supplying its National Broadband Network and spent millions of dollars in May to make sure it wouldn’t build an internet cable between Australia and the Solomon Islands, which are located to the northeast of Australia — near Papua New Guinea.
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