WASHINGTON • Mr Donald Trump, the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination, has accused China of "raping" the US, in comparing America's trade deficit with China.
Renewing his criticism of China's trade policies, he told a rally in Indiana on Sunday that China was responsible for "the greatest theft in the history of the world", according to the BBC.
"We can't continue to allow China to rape our country, and that's what they're doing," Mr Trump said, referring to China's high number of exports relative to the United States.
"We're going to turn it around, and we have the cards, don't forget it," he told the crowd. "We're like the piggy bank that's being robbed. We have a lot of power with China."
Mr Trump has long accused China of manipulating its currency to make its exports more competitive globally. He said this has seriously hurt US businesses and workers.
Figures from the US government show the annual trade deficit with China was at an all-time high of $365.7 billion (S$491 billion) last year.
We can't continue to allow China to rape our country, and that's what they're doing.
REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL FRONT RUNNER DONALD TRUMP, referring to China's high number of exports relative to the US.
His "rape" accusation renews a claim he made in reference to China in 2011, said CNN.
But the billionaire developer added that he is not "angry at China" but, rather, with "grossly incompetent" US leaders.
Mr Trump also said he will have essentially sealed the Republican presidential nomination if he wins today's contest in Indiana, where he holds a big lead over his chief rival, Senator Ted Cruz.
And a new NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist opinion poll backs up his claim, showing Mr Trump with a wide lead in Indiana, 49 per cent to 34 per cent for Mr Cruz and 13 per cent for the third candidate, Mr John Kasich.
The poll highlights the challenge facing Mr Cruz, a conservative senator from Texas, who is trying to prevent Mr Trump from winning the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination. Mr Trump has 996 so far and Indiana offers 57 more.
Mr Cruz's hopes rest on emerging as a consensus alternative to Mr Trump if he fails to achieve an outright win at the Republican National Convention on July 18-21.
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, Mr Cruz was asked several times whether he would support Mr Trump if the New York businessman became the Republican nominee. But Mr Cruz evaded the question each time .
Mr Cruz claims he has momentum in Indiana based on choosing former candidate Carly Fiorina as his running mate, and endorsement by Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
But many Republican delegates and party officials seem to be following public opinion, and say they are ready to move on to unite behind someone - including Mr Trump - so that the party is not hopelessly divided going into the general election.
And across the South, which was supposed to be Mr Cruz's bulwark, some delegates are now echoing the growing sentiment inside the party that Mr Trump will be their standard bearer.
"Honestly, we didn't think he could get this far. And he did," said Mr Jonathan Barnett, the Republican national committeeman in Arkansas.
On the Democratic side, front runner Hillary Clinton has told CNN that her rival Bernie Sanders has been "helpful" in bringing millions of people into the party's presidential race, but it was time for him to step aside.
Mrs Clinton has a big lead in the delegate race ahead of the Democratic National Convention on July 25-28. But Mr Sanders refuses to get out, saying he believes the Democratic battle will end up in a contested convention.
REUTERS, NEW YORK TIMES
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