Clive Palmer took the airwaves recently saying unkind things about the Chinese. He called the Chinese government “bastards” setting off a firestorm of criticism for his tirade. His remarks were condemned by the Australian prime minister and of course the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He sent a written letter of apology to Chinese ambassador in which he states:
“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.”
He explained later that his comments were directed at a Chinese company, CITIC Pacific, which he is locked in a legal fight concerning cost overruns and royalties involving the Sino Iron project in Western Australia. That project is a major investment for the Chinese company which until recently was state owned (CITIC Group was acquired by Hong Kong based CITIC Pacific and will begin publicly trading under that name). As such the former state owned company will be subject to stricter rules and disclosure requirements. But many in the financial community are not sure, despite this change, it will really result in major changes. Foreign directors may or may not be involved and the CITIC chairman has said that they are not necessary.
Palmer also said of CITIC in the Sino Iron project in western Australia that it was a “small horse pulling a big cart.” That cart is bigger now. It may be officially and legally a Hong Kong corporation but no one believes it is independent of government control. Beijing calls the shots behind the scenes and Palmer knows that. And even if he had just said it about CITIC, they would still be upset that he attacked a Chinese company. At any rate, it just makes building of Titanic II even more remote unless, as I noted before, he goes to Beijing and performs the kowtow.
1.Australian Billionaire Politician Apologizes For TV Tirade Over China(25 Aug 2014,Reuters)
2.New Name, Old Questions for China’s Citic (28 Aug, MoneyBeat Blog, Wall Street Journal)