No deterioration in NZ-China relationship - Ardern

The flight was turned back around because of a permit issue one passenger reported

The flight was turned back around because of a permit issue one passenger reported

"I see absolutely no need, given that Air New Zealand have said themselves that they know exactly what the issue was - that they did not meet requirements on behalf of China", she said.

Diplomatic links with China appear to have plummeted to a new low as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is given the cold shoulder by Beijing and a major tourism promotion is postponed by the superpower.

An Air New Zealand flight to Shanghai had to turn back to Auckland today after learning it had no authority to land in China.

The incident has created a potential headache for New Zealand's government, which has recently suffered frosty relations with Beijing.

Stuff has reported the delay was due not to problems with the relationship, but the flight's paperwork including references to Taiwan.

Ardern's remarks came after the incident sparked political speculations in New Zealand over its diplomatic ties with China.

In a statement late on Sunday, China's civil aviation regulator quoted the airline as having said the issue was due to "temporary improper allocation of the aircraft".

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern smiles as she attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2019.

The incident marks yet another arbitrary move by Beijing to impose its ideology upon foreign companies, following the CAA order on April 24 of previous year that forced airlines to refer to Taiwan as part of China on their websites, which the U.S. White House called "Orwellian nonsense".

In November, New Zealand's intelligence agency rejected the telecommunication industry's first request to use Chinese telecoms giant Huawei's equipment in its planned 5G mobile network, citing national security concerns. "Look, there are no questions speaking more broadly... that our relationship with China is a complex relationship".

Ardern is left trotting out the line that this is a scheduling issue, and the only thing keeping her from an official visit is scheduling clashes.

"There are challenges there though, our job is to make sure that we always - in all our relationships - represent New Zealand's best interests, and we do that". "That was a outcome", she said.

"We've not received any communication of this nature", an Air New Zealand spokeswoman said at the time.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson blamed the airline for failing to obtain a landing permit and claimed it had returned to Auckland of its own volition.

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