Photo: AFP/Nicholas Kamm

After a report by The New York Times that Russia and China are taking advantage of his penchant for using his private iPhone, China’s Foreign Ministry borrowed one of Donald Trump’s favorite words to describe the media.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying used the English term “fake news” to dismiss the report when answering a question in Chinese during a regular press briefing.

“I feel like in the US some people are really trying their best to win the Oscar for best screenplay,” Hua said in reference to the New York Times article.

Trump joined in the mockery in an early-morning tweet:

According to the report, both China and Russia had been able to listen to phone calls made by the US president, though it was unclear the extent to which foreign entities had gleaned important information.

Judging by accounts of how Trump discusses political tactics and policy decisions with friends in a casual and mercurial fashion, one wonders whether, if the reporting were true, foreign intelligence officials would be better informed or more confused after listening in.

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