The Republican presidential frontrunner said China had long carried out what he described as “the greatest theft in the history of the world” by, he claims, manipulating its currency to make its exports more competitive.
Speaking at a campaign rally in Indiana, he said: “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country, and that’s what we’re doing.
“We’re going to turn it around, and we have the cards, don’t forget it.
“We have a lot of power with China.”
The businessman has promised to “cut a better deal with China that helps American businesses and workers compete”.
He has set out four goals that include immediately declaring China “a currency manipulator” and putting “an end to China’s illegal export subsidies and lax labour and environmental standards”.
America’s trade deficit reached £250.1billion last year.
Mr Trump has long criticised China, claiming it has kept its currency at an unnaturally low level to boost its exports to the US, which also damages the prospects of US firms selling their goods to China.
In January and February, China imported £11.1bn worth of American goods but exported £50bn to the USA.
Beijing has not commented on his Mr Trump’s remarks.
This is not the first time the billionaire has publicly said something controversial during his White House campaign.
He has called for Mexico to build a wall on its border and has argued for a ban against allowing Muslims into the United States.