Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Australian Prime Minister says ‘hello’ in Chinese to woman who replies ‘I’m Korean’

A video has emerged showing the Australian Prime Minister accidentally saying hello to a Korean woman in Chinese while on the campaign trail. Scott Morrison, the leader of the Liberal Party, was campaigning in Strathfield in Sydney's inner-west ahead of the Federal Election. There, he was meeting and greeting various local citizens, while a number of cameras and reporters were watching.

He approached an Asian woman and shook hands with her, saying first: "Hello, how are you?" and then saying hello in Mandarin, stating: "Ni hao." However, embarrassingly for the politician, the woman then replied: "No, no, no, I'm Korean. I'm from the Korean community," leaving Morisson looking notably red-faced and contrite. The Prime Minister was apparently unaware that he had visited a Korean restaurant.

The mortifying clip was seized upon by many of Morrison's critics on social media, who lambasted him for displaying racism. Many people stated that Strathfield is known for its sizeable Korean population and that Morrison should have researched the area before making his ill-fated visit.

Interestingly, reporters have been kept at arm's length throughout Morrison's campaign thus far, with many speculating that this tactic has been employed to prevent this exact kind of faux pas from attracting too much attention.

A former Liberal party insider who worked on Tony Abbott’s 2013 campaign told British newspaper The Guardian: "If this is the way it’s going, it’s an interesting trend. Yes, from a political perspective, you get more control, you get the message done your way, but if you’re shutting out the journalists, it will start to cause angst. Do we want our campaigns to go this way where politicians and their staff start to control not just where you go for the campaign but every [image and message] is tightly controlled right down to them editing everything and blocking out other video cameras?"

If Morrison wanted to avoid embarrassment, then it seems his plan has already backfired. The Federal Election is to be held on May 18.