News World Donald Trump mocked by China after reports they are listening to his iPhone calls
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Donald Trump mocked by China after reports they are listening to his iPhone calls

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Donald Trump has denied pressuring the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and son Hunter. Photo: ABC
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China has provided US President Donald Trump with some suggestions if he is worried about foreign eavesdropping on his iPhones – use a Chinese-made Huawei mobile instead.

The joking comments came after The New York Times reported that American intelligence reports indicated Chinese and Russian spies often listen in on Mr Trump when he uses his personal Apple iPhones to chat with old friends or send out a tweet.

Aides have repeatedly told him his phones are not secure, but although the President has been persuaded to use his secure White House landline more often, he has refused to give up the iPhones, The Times said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed the claims of Chinese spying in The Times story, calling such reports “evidence that The New York Times makes fake news”.

“If they are really very worried about Apple phones being bugged, then they can change to using Huawei,” she said, referring to China’s biggest telecommunications equipment maker.

“If they are still not at ease, then in order to have an entirely secure device, they can stop using all forms of modern communication devices and cut off all ties with the outside world.”

Ms Hua added that the journalists behind the report in The Times “are sparing no efforts to win the Academy Award for best screenplay”.

Mr Trump called The Times report incorrect and dismissed it as “long and boring”.

“I only use Government Phones, and have only one seldom used government cell phone. Story is soooo wrong!” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.

But, the irony of his tweet was quickly picked up by savvy social media users, who pointed out that the tweet was sent from an iPhone.

The Twitter app itself does not reveal the platform a tweet was sent on, but the social network’s sister app TweetDeck does.

In a later tweet, he said, “I rarely use a cellphone, & when I do it’s government authorised. I like Hard Lines. Just more made up Fake News!”

The Times cited current and former US officials as saying China has a sophisticated approach toward the intercepted presidential phone calls and is seeking to use them to determine what Mr Trump thinks, whom he listens to and how best to sway him.

In particular, it is trying to use what it learns to prevent the current trade war between the two countries from escalating further, The Times said.

The US Democratic National Committee warned party candidates running in November elections not to use devices from Huawei or ZTE, another major Chinese telecoms gear-maker.

They also claimed that there are concerns Russian agencies were also among those listening to Mr Trump’s calls.

While China’s recommendation of Huawei phones may have been tongue-in-cheek, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has come under scrutiny in the United States.

Intelligence agency leaders and others have said they are concerned that Huawei and other Chinese companies may be beholden to the Chinese government or ruling Communist Party, raising the risk of espionage.

US troops rally on migrant caravan

Meanwhile, reports claimed that the Trump administration was preparing to order up to 1000 US troops to the US-Mexico border to deal with the more than 5000-strong migrant caravan making its way towards the border.

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to sign an order sending the troops to the border, bolstering the approximately 2000 National Guard troops currently policing the border, anonymous officials told The Associated Press.

The new additions will provide logistical support, in addition to infrastructure such as vehicles, tents and equipment.

Mr Trump tweeted: “I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency. They will be stopped!”, suggesting that he was preparing to execute the order.

The US Democratic National Committee warned party candidates running in November elections not to use devices from Huawei or ZTE, another major Chinese telecoms gear-maker.

Mr Trump to order 1000 troops to US-Mexico border

While National Guard troops function under the auspices of state governors from California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, the active duty troops will be sent directly from the Pentagon.

For that to happen, the administration will need to issue an order which has not yet been confirmed.

Mr Trump and his fellow Republicans have sought to make the caravan and immigration major issues ahead of the mid-term elections in which the party is trying to maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Mr Trump has taken a hard line toward immigration – legal and illegal – since becoming President last year.

“Wait’ll you see what happens over the next couple of weeks. You’re going to see a very secure border. You just watch,” Mr Trump told supporters at a rally on Wednesday.

“And the military is ready. They’re all set.”

-with wires

-ABC