Registration mistake turned back New Zealand flight to China

Registration mistake turned back New Zealand flight to China

China and New Zealand were quick to downplay the controversy.

Air New Zealand has not yet responded to a request for comment.

But while former Prime Minister John Key made it virtually a policy to visit China annually, with ministerial visits averaging close to one a month, face to face contact with the current Government has become nearly rare.

Ties with China have been tense under Ardern's government which has openly raised concerns about Beijing's growing influence in the South Pacific, and rejected Chinese telecoms giant Huawei's first local bid to build a 5G mobile network.

An Air New Zealand flight to Shanghai turned back several hours into its journey on Sunday after discovering it did not have permission to land in China, the airline said.

Everyone expects some form of punishment from the world's largest command economy, creating a high risk of confirmation bias, where we interpret facts based on what we believe is coming.

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And under Ardern, New Zealand has embraced a warmer relationship with Japan. Now, three days later, the occurrence is still causing a stir, as the reported reason behind the comeback taps into a highly sensitive political issue: allegedly, the plane was turned away because its paperwork contained a reference to Taiwan. That's in New Zealand's best interest.

The issue has created a headache for the New Zealand government, with increasing questions about the true state of relations between New Zealand and China, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unable to say when she will visit Beijing.

But even if the Air NZ flight is forgotten, the episode will be repeated.

The exhibition - featuring eight warriors standing 180 cm tall, and two full-size horses from the terracotta army, as well as two half-size replica bronze horse-drawn chariots - opened to the public on December 15 in the run-up to the beginning of 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism.

Visitors view terracotta warriors during the preview of the exhibition "Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality" at the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand, on December 13, 2018.

"Officials are working with the Chinese Embassy to get a new date confirmed for this event", a spokesman for Davis said. "We need to know what has happened here". The problem for the Ardern Government is that the language is nearly identical to a key question which she can not answer: when are you going to China? "Is it part of the ongoing deterioration in relations between this New Zealand government and China?" opposition National Party leader Simon Bridges questioned in a post on Twitter on Sunday.

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