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Australian billionaire politician apologises for TV tirade over China

Published on Aug 26, 2014 11:56 AM
In this file photo taken on Oct 10, 2013 Australian mining billionaire and leader of the Palmer United Party (PUP) Clive Palmer speaks during a press conference in Sydney. -- PHOTO: AFP 

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australian mining magnate and politician Clive Palmer has apologised to China's ambassador to Australia for a tirade in which he referred to the Chinese government as "bastards", setting off a firestorm in Canberra and Beijing.

The apology, in the form of a letter to Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu, came after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned his remarks aired on television on Aug 18.

"I regret any hurt or anguish such comments may have caused any party and I look forward to greater understanding for peace and cooperation in the future," Palmer, whose Palmer United Party holds the balance of power in parliament's upper house, wrote in a letter addressed to the ambassador.

"In keeping an open mind, I now come to the realisation that what I said ... was an insult to Chinese people everywhere and I wish to assure them they have my most genuine and sincere apology," he wrote.

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