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Australia warned it will “meet its nemesis” after banning Chinese tech from 5G supply chain

The Australian government has been warned that it will “meet its nemesis” after banning telecoms operators from using 5G components made by Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE.

The threat came in the form of an editorial published by the Global Times, a Chinese state tabloid known for printing strident statements that are often interpreted as the view of the government.

After Australia issued the ban earlier this week, citing national security concerns, a Chinese government spokesperson criticised the policy, saying it would put pressure on companies in both China and Australia.

But the Global Times went a step further, describing the Australian government as “self-centred” and adding that “those who willfully hurt Chinese companies with an excuse of national security will meet their nemesis”.

“Excluding Huawei would mean the cost of network construction for telecoms operators will rise and their service will decline,” the editorial continued. “Consumers will have to foot the bill. Not all developed countries are hysterical about so-called security issues.”

The UK has traditionally taken a softer approach to Chinese technology. Huawei enjoys a close working relationship with the British government and its components play a critical part in the UK’s telecoms networks.

But a report published by the National Cyber Security Centre in July cast doubt on the security of some of Huawei telecoms products. “[We] can provide only limited assurance that all risks to UK national security from Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s critical networks have been sufficiently mitigated,” the report stated. “We are advising the National Security Adviser on this basis.”

In an article for the Sunday Times earlier this month, the director of GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, said the UK must mitigate the risks of its increasing reliance on Chinese technology, revealing that the intelligence agency was looking at how it can “better manage supply to our critical national infrastructure”.

Huawei said in a statement: “The Australian government’s decision to block Huawei from Australia’s 5G market is politically motivated, not the result of a fact-based, transparent, or equitable decision-making process. It is not aligned with the long-term interests of the Australian people, and denies Australian businesses and consumers the right to choose from the best communications technology available.”