Peter Dutton has claimed Penny Wong would launch a 'charm offensive' with her 'dear friend' Chinese President Xi Jinping if Labor wins power.
The Defence Minister made the comments in a debate against Labor's defence spokesman Brendan O'Connor at the National Press Club on Thursday.
Senator Wong, Labor's foreign affairs spokesperson, has repeatedly criticised Mr Dutton over his harsh rhetoric on China in recent months, including accusing him of 'amping up the prospect of war' by pledging Australia would fight to protect Taiwan.
Penny Wong (pictured) has previously blasted Mr Dutton for his fiery rhetoric over China
In Parliament earlier this year Mr Dutton claimed China wants Labor to win the May 21 election and even labelled deputy Labor leader Richard Marles a 'Manchurian candidate', a phrase used to describe a politician working for an enemy.
Asked to explain those remarks, Mr Dutton claimed Senator Wong's 'language' was evidence that Labor would appease China.
He said: 'Penny Wong believes that she can go to Beijing on a charm offensive and she could change the direction of China under President Xi.
'President Xi, of course, would be laughing under his breath as he was entertaining his dear friend in Beijing'.
Mr O'Connor dismissed Mr Dutton's claim as a 'conspiracy theory' and insisted that Labor has the same approach as the Government on China.
Peter Dutton (centre) has claimed Penny Wong would launch a 'charm offensive' on her 'dear friend' Chinese president Xi Jinping if Labor wins power
'We know China has changed. We know it's now more assertive, more aggressive, more coercive.
'And in fact, Penny Wong, who has just been verballed by Peter, made that clear in contributions last year where she