Washington: Terming China as "number-one abuser", leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has alleged that the Communist nation, along with India, is taking advantage of the US through its economic policies.
Trump said China was becoming a "major force" and is now creating problems both economically and through its behaviour in the South China Sea.
"If you look at the way China and India and almost everybody takes advantage of the US - China in particular, because they're so good. It's the number-one abuser of this country," Trump said during the fourth debate of the party.
"China is a problem, both economically in what they're doing in the South China Sea, I mean, they are becoming a very, very major force," Trump said.
He said that it was through "currency manipulation" that does not even find a mention in almost 6,000-page (TPP) agreement that the countries were taking advantage of the US.
While several other Republican candidates joined Trump on the China issue, there were no takers for his allegations against India, which was mentioned only once in the debate.
"We lose a fortune on trade. The US loses with everybody. We're losing now over USD 500 billion in terms of imbalance with China, USD 75 billion a year imbalance with Japan," Trump said.
John Kasich, governor of Ohio, said China did not own the South China Sea.
"I give the (US) President some credit for being able to move a naval force in there to let the Chinese know that we're not going to put up with it any more," he said.
Russia and president Vladimir Putin too figured prominently during the debate.
"What we have to recognise is that Putin is trying to really spread his influence throughout the Middle East. This is going to be his base. And we have to oppose him there in an effective way," said presidential candidate Ben Carson.
"We also must recognise that it's a very complex place. You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there," he said.
Jeb Bush said President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both do not believe the US has a leadership role to play.
"And we are now paying a price, and it will have a huge impact on the economy of this country if we don't deal with this," he said.
He favoured a no fly zone in Syria.
"We should have a support for the remnants of the Syrian Free Army, and create safe zones. If you want to deal with the four million refugees that are leaving Syria because of the devastation there, then we ought to create safe zones for them to stay in the region rather than go to Europe. And, that requires American leadership," Bush said.
"It is tragic that you see Iraq, and other countries now talking to Russia. It wasn't that long ago that Russia had no influence in the region at all. And, so, the US needs to lead across the board," Bush added.