Australia will continue to have a strong relationship with China despite recent strains caused by the Federal Government’s decision to ban Huawei from bidding for National Broadband Network (NBN) work contracts, according to Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
The Chinese communications vendor was blocked from bidding for NBN contracts due to Australian Government fears of Chinese cyber attacks. The Chinese Government has criticised this move.
At a press conference in Sydney, the Prime Minister brushed off suggestions the decision will damage ties between the two countries and maintained it was made “in the national interest”.
She also noted the ban is not in breach of any trade agreements or arrangements with China.
“We have a strong, robust relationship with China - we are deeply engaged at every level,” the Prime Minister said. “We have a strong economic relationship with China, we have increased ties at every level – diplomatic ties, multilateral ties, people-to-people links and you will continue to see our relationship with China strengthen and grow.”
She acknowledged there will be times when Australia and China may not see eye to eye.
“I’m not surprised we are seeing a moment where we are seeing things differently,” the Prime Minister said. “But it is a great error indeed to move from a moment where we are seeing one thing differently and extrapolate that to the full dimensions of the relationship – a very grave error indeed.”
At the same press event, the Prime Minister and Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, unveiled the NBN Co’s three-year plans for a mass rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN).