Aussie mining tycoon Palmer's aversion to China just went a bit too far
Aussie mining tycoon turned politician Clive Palmer has fuelled tensions with China once again after going on a stinging verbal attack against Australia's biggest trading partner on national television.
Palmer, whose privately owned firm Mineralogy is in the middle of a long-running royalties dispute with Chinese state-owned conglomerate Citic Pacific, described the Asian nation’s government as "mongrels" who shoot their own people.
On Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Q&A program on Monday night, the leader of the Palmer United party was asked about allegations he received more than $12 million from Citic, through his company, to his fund his election campaign.
Palmer energetically denied the accusation and repeated his claim that certain media organizations are just trying to discredit him.
He also accused the "communist Chinese government" of trying to take over Australia's ports to steal the nation's natural resources.
"I don't mind standing up against the Chinese bastards and stopping them from doing it," he said on ABC's Q&A program.
The Chinese embassy in Australia responded to the lengthy attack by labelling Palmer's comments as "absurd," "irresponsible," and “full of ignorance and prejudice," ABC reports.
This morning the Queensland MP apologized through its Twitter account:
But concern has arisen over the potential economic and diplomatic fallout from Palmer’s verbal attacks.
A national executive statement by the Australian Industry group condemned the comments as “a new low in the political debate”.
“The statements, by a prominent member of the Australian parliament about our major trading partner, risk significant damage to Australia’s standing as a natural destination for foreign investment and have the potential to materially damage our reputation as a desirable trading partner,” said a statement from the group’s chief executive, Innes Willox.
China is Australia's largest trading partner, with two-way trade hitting nearly $151 billion in 2013.
Watch Palmer’s rant: