Donald Trump says the United States has "tremendous power" over China because the world's second-largest economy depends on American prosperity and because of Beijing's ownership of a staggering amount of U.S. debt.
"They suck the blood out of us and we owe them money," Trump told CNBC. "We have a lot of power," he said.
"I call them great magicians," he said. “But we have tremendous power over China because they take so much,” he said.
Trump said also he sees the U.S. having leverage over China because its economy derives strength from manufacturing and exporting many of the goods that Americans buy everyday.
"We should get China to fix that problem. We should use our economic power. Because without us, China would be in serious trouble," he said.
“They take tremendous amounts of dollars out of the United States. Without us, China would be in tremendous problems and we should be able to do that. But we don't have leadership, we don't have the people that can get them to do that,” he said.
China remained the largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt, with $1.241 trillion in June, down from $1.2440 trillion the previous month, Reuters reported.
Trump targeted China in his speech at this year's Republican National Convention.
Trump claimed he, unlike Hillary Clinton, would keep jobs in the country and "make America rich again" by moving away from "bad trade deals," he said this summer in Cleveland.
"She supported NAFTA, and she supported China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization — another one of her husband's colossal mistakes and disasters," he said.
He also promised to crack down on trade violations. Trump said he would stop China's "outrageous theft of intellectual property," "illegal dumping" and "devastating currency manipulation."
Trump claimed Chinese officials "are the greatest currency manipulators ever!"
He vowed to renegotiate trade deals, including with China. "Our country is going to start building and making things again," he said.
Meanwhile, a cynic could say that the billionaire developer knows very well what it feels like to be mired in debt.
Companies belonging to Trump have at least $650 million in debt, more than twice the amount shown in public filings made by his presidential campaign, the New York Times reported.
His lenders include one of the largest banks in China -- which the Republican candidate accuses of being a US economic foe -- and the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which he says influences his Democratic White House rival Hillary Clinton.
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