China to Trump: Ditch your iPhone, get a Huawei
Beijing denies that Chinese spies are eavesdropping on Donald Trump’s iPhone calls with his friends, an allegation that surfaced in a New York Times report.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman is calling it fake news, but also has some advice for the US President: Try using a Huawei handset instead.
The South China Morning Post says the unsolicited suggestion came during the Chinese foreign ministry’s daily briefing. When asked about the NYT report, the official likened the accusation to an Oscar-worthy screenplay -- and also proposed that President Trump stop using all modern communication devices.
President Trump, according to American officials cited in the report, has two iPhones specially modified by the National Security Agency to make them less susceptible to hacks. But in addition to those government-issued handsets, he also uses an ordinary iPhone to chat with friends -- conversations that Chinese spies allegedly listen to so they can find ways to influence President Trump.
Naturally, the US President doesn’t just walk into a store to buy a new handset. But even if he wanted to do that, it’s pretty hard for Americans to get their hands on a Huawei handset. Both AT&T and Verizon dropped plans earlier this year to sell Huawei phones -- a blow to the Chinese giant in a market where 90% of smartphones are sold through carriers.
Huawei’s troubles in the US go beyond selling handsets. The company is also a major manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, and wants to be a leader in building 5G wireless networks. But the US government and contractors are banned from using the majority of its products due to suspicion over security. Huawei has long denied that it poses a security risk.
Funnily enough, while Huawei is blocked from building 5G networks in the US, mobile networks are cited in the NYT report as a reason why no handset -- whether an iPhone or Huawei -- is ever truly safe, as wireless calls can theoretically be intercepted.
Officials suggest the President to stick to the landline.