Premier Colin Barnett has rounded on Clive Palmer, saying his anti-China tirade represented the “worst of Australia” and his comments were offensive, abhorrent and damaging to WA’s relationship with China.

Mr Barnett said he offered an explanation to the Chinese embassy in Canberra.

In an extraordinary outburst last night, Mr Palmer described the Chinese as "mongrels" who shot their own people.

“From Western Australia’s point of view, we totally repudiate the comments that Mr Palmer has made and I will extend an apology to the Chinese on that basis,” Mr Barnett said.

“He is an embarrassment.

“(The comments) could be extremely damaging to the mining industry and to Australia and Chinese relations.

“China is our largest trading partner and WA counts for 70 per cent of Australia’s exports to China.”

The Palmer United Party leader is embroiled in a legal battle with Chinese state-owned company CITIC Pacific, which has accused the mining magnate of siphoning off $12 million in funds.

Mr Palmer has strenuously denied accusations his company Mineralogy misused CITIC Pacific's cash to finance PUP's federal election campaign.

He said the matter was before the Supreme Court this week and he'd keep up the fight against the "Chinese mongrels".

Mr Barnett said CITIC Pacific had paid all royalties owed to the WA Government on time and in full.

He said the comments would be confusing for the Chinese because Mr Palmer was a member of the Australian Parliament and he was using his position to try and pursue his commercial interests .

Treasurer Joe Hockey says Clive Palmer's extraordinary televised tirade against China is hugely damaging for Australia.

Mr Hockey said Mr Palmer had been a big beneficiary of Chinese investment in Australia.

"He is in a very obvious legal dispute with his Chinese partners but I'd say to Mr Palmer, please don't bring down the rest of Australia because of your biases."

WA's China-born PUP Senator Dio Wang today defended his leader, claiming Mr Palmer was provoked into making the comments.

"From personal experience I have found Clive to be consistently respectful and supportive throughout our relationship in both the private sector and now in the political arena," he said.

"There has never been the slightest suggestion on his part of a prejudicial view of member of the Chinese community."

Mr Wang said Mr Palmer's remarks were directed at certain enterprises and not individuals.

"I would not have been endorsed twice as the lead Western Australia senate candidate if the party leader did not genuinely value the Chinese people," he said.

PUP Senator Jacquie Lambie also backed her leader, issuing a statement in which she said she strongly supported the "general point that Clive made about Communist China's military capacity and threat to Australia".

"If anybody thinks that we should have a national security and defence policy which ignores the threat of a Chinese Communist invasion - you're delusional and got rocks in your head.

"The Communist Chinese military capacity and level of threat to the western world democracies is at an unprecedented and historical high.

"Clive's political critics like Barnaby Joyce have forgotten that the Chinese Navy, in an unprecedented show of military strength, recently sailed their ships unannounced through SE Asia and close to Australian territorial waters.

"Today China is controlled by an aggressive, anti-democratic, totalitarian government. We need to double the size and capacity of our military right now.

"Both Labor and the Liberals/Nationals have failed to build an Australian military that is able to defend us - and stop our grandchildren from becoming slaves to an aggressive, anti-democratic totalitarian foreign power."

Brendon Grylls, who was WA Nationals leader and minister for regional development when Mr Palmer was a major Nationals donor and investor in the Pilbara, said the Fairfax MP used to have a different tune on China.

“When I was dealing with Clive Palmer we were actually talking about building and growing the relationship with China… especially on the agriculture stuff, which is now coming to the fore,” Mr Grylls said.

“I spent a lot of time talking to him off the back of saying ‘can agriculture follow the resource sector?’

“He’s now a senior political figure and probably should choose his language more carefully on issues like this.”

The West Australian

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