Australia to face backlash over attitude toward Huawei: experts

By Wang Bozun Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/27 0:35:53

A red telephone booth on Middle Huaihai Road in downtown Shanghai has been transformed into a 5G mini base station. Near the station, the 5G network speed is stable at around 800Mbps – 10 to 20 times the speed of the 4G network. Photo: cnsphoto

The backlash that Australia could face due to its attitude toward Chinese telecom giant Huawei will remain no matter what the UK's final decision on Huawei is, Chinese experts warned Tuesday, after Australia hailed the UK's decision to review its use of Huawei technology.

Several Australian government officials on Monday welcomed the UK's decision to review Huawei's inclusion in its 5G network development, arguing that it's a welcome first step from one of Australia's key intelligence-sharing partners, ABC news reported Monday.

Another government figure said they hoped the British change of heart would sway Canada and New Zealand to also ban the Chinese telco from their 5G networks, according to the ABC report.

"[They're] heading in the right direction," the ABC report said, quoting a senior figure who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"Australia's response to the UK meant to draw more countries to join it in banning Huawei," Jiang Yong, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"But no matter how many countries join it or what the UK's final decision would be, the backlash it will face from its attitude against Huawei, which has angered China, will not change," Jiang said.  

In 2018, Australia became the first country in the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network - the US, the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Australia - to call for a ban on Huawei's involvement in 5G construction, citing concerns about security.

Ties between China and Australia have been declining in recent years, because of a series of hostile moves by Australia, including its stance on the South China Sea and its call for an independent investigation into the origin of COVID-19.

Even through China did not impose any sanctions on Australia due to the soured ties, China's recent moves including imposing tariffs on Australia's barley and suspension of beef imports have been perceived as retaliation by some Western media outlets and Australian officials.

These Chinese actions were only for solving trade issues under the WTO rules, but could also be interpreted as China's mild warning, said Yu Lei, a chief research fellow at the Research Center for Pacific Island Countries at Liaocheng University.

"China should not fire the first shot, but if Australia keeps angering China, China should give it a lesson much heavier than tariffs on barley," Jiang said.


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