Donald Trump has accused China of “raping” the U.S., the sharpest criticism of the Communist giant’s trade policies by the controversial Republican presidential front-runner.

Mr. Trump, a billionaire businessman, compared the U.S.’s ballooning trade deficit with China, which he regularly laments and vows to tackle as president, to rape.

“We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country, and that’s what they’re doing,” Mr. Trump said during his second rally on Sunday in Fort Wayne, Indiana, referring to China’s growing exports to the U.S.

Mr. Trump, 69, has repeatedly accused China of manipulating its currency to make its exports more competitive on the global market and has claimed that China is “killing” the U.S. on trade.

Sunday marks the first time in this campaign that Mr. Trump has used the term “rape” to refer to what he views as China’s dominance in trade with the US, CNN reported.

“We’re going to turn it around. And we have the cards, don’t forget it. We’re like the piggy bank that’s being robbed. We have the cards. We have a lot of power with China,” Trump said before referring to China’s relationship with the U.S. as rape.

Trump added that he is not “angry at China,” but with U.S. leaders whom he accused of being “grossly incompetent.”

Latest figures from the U.S. government show the trade deficit with China reached an all-time high of USD 365.7 billion last year. By February this year, it had already reached USD 57 billion.

Mr. Trump previously claimed in 2011 that “China is raping this country”.

Mr. Trump’s use of the analogy come as Mr. Trump is under fire for remarks he made about Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton that critics are calling sexist and for touting the endorsement of boxer Mike Tyson, who was convicted of rape in Indiana.

Mr. Trump has claimed that Ms. Clinton – a former secretary of state, senator and first lady — is using “the woman card” to get elected and that she would not have a shot at the presidency if she were not a woman.

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