No Rea­son to Ban TikTok: Aust

Fiji Sun - - AUST/NZ/PACIFIC NEWS - Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son. NCA NewsWire Feed­back: rosi.doviver­ata@fi­jisun. com.fj

Aus­tralian in­tel­li­gence agen­cies have found no ev­i­dence that TikTok users’ data has been mis­used, Scott Mor­ri­son says.

But the Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter has en­cour­aged so­cial me­dia users to ex­er­cise their own judg­ment about the plat­form.

In a vir­tual ad­dress to the Aspen Se­cu­rity Fo­rum, Mr Mor­ri­son said “peo­ple should know that the line con­nects right back into China”.

“There is no ev­i­dence for us to sug­gest … that there is any mis­use of any peo­ple’s data that has oc­curred, at least from an Aus­tralian per­spec­tive,” he said.

“There’s noth­ing at this point that would sug­gest to us that se­cu­rity in­ter­ests have been com­pro­mised or Aus­tralian cit­i­zens have been com­pro­mised.” Mr Mor­ri­son said there was no rea­son to re­strict the ap­pli­ca­tion “at this point”, ad­ding in­tel­li­gence agen­cies would con­tinue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion.

“They (Aus­tralians) should ex­er­cise their own judg­ment about whether I should par­tic­i­pate in those things or not,” he said. As ten­sions be­tween China and the US grow, Mr Mor­ri­son was asked about in­sta­bil­ity in the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion.

“What we want is peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion,” he said. “What we want is trade with China and all coun­tries in our re­gion to con­tinue to grow and de­velop.

“We just don’t want to see that growth trans­late into any global in­sta­bil­ity in the re­gion be­cause we be­lieve that will un­der­mine pros­per­ity in the re­gion.” Mr Mor­ri­son said the great dif­fi­culty na­tions in the re­gion faced was that ev­ery ac­tion was only seen through the lens of that “strate­gic com­pe­ti­tion” be­tween China and the US.

He said although Aus­tralia had a good trad­ing re­la­tion­ship with China, it was not “hostage” to it. “It is a two-way mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tion­ship for Aus­tralia and China and we want to see that pre­served, but it can’t be pre­served in an im­bal­anced way,” he said.

Mr Mor­ri­son also de­fended the fact he had not spo­ken to Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping since the G20 last year, say­ing “there hasn’t been an op­por­tu­nity to do so”.

“I don’t get hung up on these things,” he said.

“The phone is there, it works.”

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