BEIJING (AP) — China’s Commerce Ministry said Australia’s ban on Chinese technology giant Huawei from bidding to help build a nationwide high-speed Internet network was “unjust.”
Australian media have reported that the decision was prompted by Australian intelligence officials who cited hacking attacks traced to China, but the government has not made public its reasons.
China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said in a statement late Friday that Australia should not exclude Huawei Technologies Ltd. from participating in a fair competition in the name of security.
Huawei has provided broadband network equipment and services for many countries and has operated in Australia for nearly a decade, Shen said. Nearly 90 percent of Huawei Australia’s employees are Australian, the statement said.
The ban highlights concern about a spate of hacking attempts aimed at Western companies and the role of Chinese equipment providers, which are expanding abroad.
Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson said earlier in the week that the government had acted on advice in the national interest late last year when it told Huawei it was barred from bidding for work on the 36 billion Australian dollar ($38 billion) fiber-optic network.
Chinese demand for iron ore and other minerals has driven an Australian economic boom, but Canberra is uneasy about Beijing’s rising military spending and growing assertiveness in Asia.