CANBERRA, Australia | Spy chief wanted ban on China telecoms from Australian 5G

CANBERRA, Australia — A spy chief says Australia’s critical infrastructure including electricity grids, water supplies and hospitals could not have been adequately safeguarded if Chinese-owned telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE Corp. were allowed to help roll out the nation’s 5G network.

Australian Signals Directorate director-general Mike Burgess said his cyber experts had backed the government’s decision in August to bar the two Chinese companies.

It was the first time the agency had disclosed such information. Burgess said in a speech released by his office on Tuesday that security agencies had protected sensitive information and core functions of Australian telecommunications networks by limiting involvement by companies viewed as risky. He said a potential threat anywhere in the 5G network would compromise the whole network.

Several governments have scrutinized Huawei’s links to the Chinese government.

By Associated Press