Canberra/Beijing: Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull justified the policy the Australian government has adopted against China saying, ‘The uncertainty has increased in the current times, and the friendly countries may not remain so in the future. Therefore, it is critical to safeguarding national interests by taking precautions against such countries. Also, the Australia-imposed ban on Huawei and ZTE is a part of the same policy.’ In an interview with a daily in Hong Kong, Turnbull clarified that there was no pressure from the United States behind Australia’s decision against China.
Currently, the issues concerning the Chinese telecom giant Huawei are making rounds globally. US President Donald Trump has taken an aggressive and adamant stand against Huawei as also has begun pressurising the US allies for adopting a similar position against the Chinese company. As of date, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have imposed a ban on Huawei while some other European countries have indicated doing so as well. However, countries such as Germany have refused to impose a complete ban and declared of taking an independent decision.
At the same time, the relations between Australia and China have increasingly strained in the past year. Also, last year, considering the Chinese interference in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia announced the ambitious scheme ‘Step Up to Pacific’. After that, Australia even passed the ‘Foreign Interference Laws’ to curb the Chinese interference carried out through the educational institutions, NGO’s and think tanks.
The Chinese regime is unsettled due to the challenges posed by Australia, which is a part of the Asia-Pacific region. It is disturbing for China that its primary trading partner is not accepting its domination and has, therefore, initiated efforts to mount pressure on the country. For the purpose, China is making use of the government’s mouthpiece daily, news agencies and systems connected with the bilateral trade.
Given the background, the former Australian Prime Minister’s statement on China becomes significant. The Australian leadership has realised that although the cooperation between Australia and China exists currently, it may not be so in the future. Therefore, it will prove crucial to have the right opportunity available to retaliate against China and stop their increasing pressure. Taking all the factors into account, Australia appears to have prioritised its security and prevented the expansion of the Chinese companies in the country.
While justifying the ban, Turnbull even highlighted the Chinese laws. “China makes it mandatory for its companies to cooperate with the intelligence agencies. The law is unacceptable to many countries, prompting them to take a cautious stance in the matter”, the former Australian Prime Minister added.