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Air NZ Flight to Shanghai Turned Away on Taiwan Reference

Air NZ Flight to Shanghai Turned Away on Taiwan Reference

The plane, which has not yet been confirmed, returned to Auckland about five hours after it took off and that it did not have permission from the Chinese authorities to land.

China refuses to have diplomatic ties with governments that recognise Taiwan and has been cracking down on airlines that do so.

Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, was quick to clarify that the administrative issue was separate to China-New Zealand relations. According to sources "the Chinese were very explicit" about what the issue was, however the issue was not resolved.

The unorthodox incident has prompted speculation the issue with the plane's paperwork was due to an error in the airline referring to the city of Taipei as the capital of Taiwan rather than a city in China.

China's approach to Taiwan is well known, as is its strict approach to paperwork.

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.

An global flight from Auckland to Shanghai has turned around mid-air and returned to New Zealand, sparking concerns over increasingly frosty relations between the two countries and setting off a political war of words.




"It gets into the political situation and the way the different governments recognise or don't recognise states, and I would think Air New Zealand would be guided very much by what the New Zealand government position is ... therefore look at it in context of the New Zealand government's relationship with China".

The 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism was meant to be launched with great fanfare at Wellington's Te Papa museum next week, but that has been postponed by 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".

Ardern was scheduled to visit China early this year but the invitation has been put on hold.

Ardern also dismissed claims that the Huawei ban had any impact on the diplomatic ties, and insisted that New Zealand was not pushed into the decision by other countries.

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

Flight NZ289 left Auckland shortly before midnight on Saturday only to land at the same airport about 10am on Sunday, leaving 270 passengers furious.


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