Tony Abbott has sought to heal another regional relationship soured by the rancorous debate about boat people - this time with Malaysia.
The Prime Minister, who apologised to the Indonesian President last week, said yesterday he offered "an act of contrition" to Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak at the APEC summit in Bali.
He said he told Mr Najib it was "rather unfortunate Malaysia had got caught up in a rather intense party political discussion in Australia".
In Opposition, Mr Abbott led the coalition's attack on the Government's proposed deal with Malaysia to exchange 4000 genuine refugees for 800 boat arrivals. He questioned the treatment of non-citizens in Malaysia and that asylum seekers Australia sent there could be beaten with a cane.
The coalition foiled Labor's attempts to legislate to allow the deal around a High Court decision ruling against the Malaysian Solution.
Mr Abbott said he made it clear to Mr Najib that the coalition's opposition was to Labor, never Malaysia, and he had apologised "in my own way".
"He knows we play our politics pretty hard in our country and I think he understood but ... I am confident that our friendship with Malaysia is strong and it will get stronger over time."Also yesterday, Mr Abbott thanked Papua New Guinea for its help with border protection.