President Donald Trump has criticized a report by the New York Times about the use of his personal cellphone.
Trump tweeted Thursday that the report was “incorrect” and said he used only government phones.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that Chinese and Russian spies often secretly listen when Trump talks with old friends on his Apple iPhone. The Times story said that American intelligence reports suggested this was the case. The Times also reported that Trump’s aides have repeatedly warned him that his cellphone calls are not secure.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was asked about the story during a press conference on Thursday.
Hua compared the report to “fake news.” She said that releasing such a report “would only add to evidence that it was fabricating fake news.”
She went on to suggest that mobile phones produced by Huawei might be a better choice for security. Huawei is a major Chinese telecommunications company.
American intelligence agency leaders and others have expressed concern about the Huawei Technologies company. They say Huawei may have ties to the Chinese government or ruling Communist Party, increasing the risk of spying.
Reuters reports that the U.S. Democratic National Committee warned party candidates seeking election in November not to use Huawei or ZTE devices. ZTE is another major Chinese telecommunications company.
The U.S. Department of Defense stopped selling some Huawei and ZTE devices on military bases last May, Reuters reports.
And in March, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai told Congress he shared concerns about Huawei and spying.
The New York Times cited U.S. officials as saying China was seeking to use information from the president’s calls to learn what Trump thinks, whom he listens to and how best to influence him.
The report said China was especially interested in trying to use what it learns to stop the current trade war between the two countries.
I’m Mario Ritter.
Mario Ritter adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on Reuters and other news sources.
Words in This Story
aide –n. a person whose job it is to assist someone
cite –v. to write or say the words of another
fake –adj. not true or real
fabricate –v. to create or make something up