US President Donald Trump jokes with Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump jokes with then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

National Security agencies in Washington aren’t just worried about the prospect of Chinese telecom giant Huawei selling 5G network equipment in the US, they are reportedly unsettled by its sale anywhere. At least on the shores of Washington’s allies.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was briefed on Friday by top US intelligence officials that Beijing’s cyber espionage was among the “top two” risks on the US-Australia cyber security agenda, one source told the Australian Financial Review.

“When you control telco networks, you can control everything,” a person present at the briefing quoted one official as saying.

The source told AFR that the Australian Prime Minister was specifically briefed on concerns regarding Chinese involvement in 5G networks.

Reports surfaced earlier this year that a senior US National Security Council advisor has proposed a national 5G network in the US to counter the rising influence of Chinese telecom giants such as Huawei.

A presentation prepared by the official suggested that the administration had already talked with allies about the idea, including the bullet point “Japan all in,” under the heading “Arena of Allied Cooperation.”

AT&T was forced under US government pressure to nix a deal to sell Huawei phones through its wireless plans, and lawmakers are reportedly urging the US service provider to sever any remaining ties with the Chinese company.

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