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Australia PM rules out US-style TikTok ban

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Australia's prime minister said Thursday his government has no plan to copy a move by US legislators to ban TikTok unless it agrees to divest from its Chinese owner.

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation threatening to exclude TikTok from the United States but the bill still needs the support of the more cautious Senate.

"We will take advice but we have no plans to do that," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told a radio interviewer when asked if Australia would follow suit.

"You've always got to have national security concerns front and center," he said.

"But you also need to acknowledge that for a whole lot of people, this provides a way of them communicating and so we have not got advice at this stage to do that."

Australia banned TikTok from government devices in April 2023—the last member of the secretive Five Eyes security alliance do to so after the United States, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

"We don't use TikTok on government phones and that is an appropriate measure that we've put in place," Albanese said.

Australia's trade relations with China have improved since Albanese's center-left Labor Party won government in 2022, adopting a less confrontational tone than the previous conservative government.

China had imposed tariffs and on key Australian exports in 2020, angered by measures including Canberra's barring of Huawei from 5G contracts and its call for a probe into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beijing has already unwound tariffs and restrictions on Australian coal, timber and barley, and it is expected to do the same for Australian wine within weeks.

© 2024 AFP

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