China listens to Trump’s phone calls, says report


President Donald Trump's aides have repeatedly warned him that calls made on his iPhones are not secure as Chinese and Russian spies routinely eavesdrop, the New York Times reported.

Such reports were "evidence that the New York Times makes fake news", she said, adding two suggestions that were apparently aimed at the Trump administration.

However, certain Twitter apps let users know from which platform a message was sent, and in the case of Trump, his missive was sent using an iPhone. "Just more made up Fake News!" the President added.

Lastly, Hua recommended "they should stop using any modern communication equipment and cut off contact with the outside" if they want to ensure absolute security.

They said that despite repeated warnings of security risks, the US President refused to give up his personal phones.

South China Morning Post reports that Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, said that if Trump is anxious about his iPhone being tapped, he should switch to Huawei (the implication being that a Huawei phone would be more secure).

According to USA intelligence, China intends to use what it is learning from Trump's personal calls - for instance, what the president's thinking is, what arguments he is considering and who he is listening to - to its benefit in the current bilateral trade dispute.

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According to a report coming from the New York Times, citing United States intelligence agencies, President Trump has three cellphones including two official iPhones that have been altered by the National Security Agency to limit their abilities and vulnerabilities, and a third personal phone that he uses for unofficial purposes.

Russia, too, dismissed the eavesdropping allegations. If he needed to make a call, he used one of his aides' phones, an official said.

Relations between the world's two largest economies have plummeted in recent weeks with Trump slapping $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods amid complaints over Beijing's trade policies.

In accusing the newspaper of fabricating news, Hua echoed language used by Trump, who has often accused the New York Times of making up stories.

By identifying friends of Trump who rely on Chinese business, the strategy is to "feed arguments" via these individuals in an effort to deliver a Beijing's views through trusted mouthpieces, according to the report. The agencies are said to have learnt of the eavesdropping from people inside foreign governments and through intercepting communications between foreign officials, the report said.

"If you are speaking on an open line, then it's an open line, meaning those who have the ability to monitor those conversations are doing so", Derek Chollet, a former Pentagon adviser and National Security Council told the Associated Press in 2017 report.