BEIJING, May 4 (UPI) -- China delivered a measured response after presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump accused Beijing of "rape."
Prior to his victory in Indiana on Tuesday, Trump told supporters in Fort Wayne, Ind., that he would fight the United States' trade deficit with China.
"We can't continue to allow China to rape our country, and that's what they're doing," Trump said during a second rally held Sunday, according to CNN.
Trump expressed his grievances about other economic issues – blaming Beijing for manipulating its currency to make exports more competitive and as a result, "killing" the United States on trade.
Trump has previously used the word "rape" to describe trade ties with China. In 2011, the candidate had said, "China is raping this country" while touring a defense manufacturing plant in New Hampshire.
China's state-owned Xinhua News Agency published an article Tuesday quoting critical comments regarding Trump's statement, Bloomberg reported.
The Global Times, China's state tabloid, called Trump's ideas of foreign policy "hollow, nationalistic and inconsistent."
Trump is "seriously wrong about how economies work in the present world," the newspaper stated last Friday.
But on Wednesday Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters the Trump comments were a U.S. domestic affair.
"It's important to point out that the core of bilateral economic-and-trade cooperation is mutually beneficial and accords with the common interests of both sides," Hong said. "We hope all the American people from different sectors view this relationship in a rational and objective way."