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). Trump would prefer to use his personal iPhone because he can not store his contacts in iPhones approved by the NSA.
China's foreign ministry has some suggestions for the Trump administration if it is anxious about foreign eavesdropping on the US president's iPhones: use a Huawei handset instead.
Senior officials quoted by the Times also said that Beijing meant to use whatever it learned from Trump's personal conversations for its own benefit in the ongoing trade war between the world's two largest economies.
Trump made his Twitter comments after the NY daily on Wednesday published a story saying that Chinese and Russian spies were "routinely eavesdropping" on the phone calls he makes from his personal cellphone, Efe reported.
China has also denounced the report, which suggested it is listening to those phone calls, as "fake news" and suggested he exchange his iPhone for a mobile phone made by Chinese manufacturer Huawei.
According to a report by the New York Times, Trump's associates have warned him repeatedly that his calls are not secure and that Russian spies are spying on them.
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Trump pushed back against the idea that he uses insecure cellphones, tweeting Thursday that he only uses government phones "and have only one seldom used government cell phone". CNN noted in April that after John Kelly became chief of staff, Trump made more calls through the White House switchboard, but by the time of the April report, the President had begun to make more calls through his cell.
Russian Federation and China are thought to be eavesdropping on Mr Trump.
Beijing particularly is trying to use what it learns to prevent the current trade war between the two countries from escalating further, according to the newspaper. In a Wall Street Journal interview this week, the president said "don't give it to me on the phone". His move comes at a time when the U.S. economy has been growing robustly while Chinese growth has slowed, adding to the pressure on Beijing.
National security experts say that cell phones, even those issued by the United States government, are vulnerable to eavesdropping by foreign governments.
"In what amounts to a marriage of lobbying and espionage, the Chinese have pieced together a list of the people with whom Mr. Trump regularly speaks in hopes of using them to influence the president", the Times reported.
"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.