Australian legislator and mining tycoon Clive Palmer has "most sincerely" apologized for a blistering attack on the Chinese government, reports the BBC.
During a live debate shown last week by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the 60-year-old billionaire — whose own Palmer United Party holds the balance of power in Australia's Senate — slammed Chinese officials as “bastards” and “mongrels" who “shoot their own people.”
“They’re communist, they shoot their own people, they haven’t got a justice system and they want to take over this country,” he said at the time. “The Chinese government wants to bring workers here to destroy our wage system … they want to take over our ports and get our resources for free … I don’t mind standing up against the Chinese bastards and stopping them from doing it.”
China is Australia's top trading partner, and Palmer’s tirade prompted a fierce backlash in a state-linked Chinese newspaper, the Global Times.
His remarks were also criticized by other Australian politicians. “Mr. Palmer’s comments are offensive, they are unnecessary, and it’s unacceptable for a Member of Parliament to make such comments, particularly on a national television program,” said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on the radio.
In a letter to the Chinese ambassador revealed Tuesday, Palmer said, "I regret any hurt or anguish such comments may have caused any party and I look forward to greater peace and understanding in the future.”