Long-haul New Zealand-China flight forced back mid-flight

Members of the Uighur community living in Turkey participate in a protest in Istanbul

READ MOREChina's treatment of Uighurs an'embarrassment for humanity: Turkey

When asked to comment on the issue by the news agency, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern denied that it was an indication of strained relations between China and her country, and was instead due to administrative issues.

An aircraft of Air New Zealand was forced to return to Auckland halfway to Shanghai.

Opposition National Party leader Simon Bridges blamed Ardern and her deputy Winston Peters for "steadily deteriorating relations" with China, and said the ties were at the worst ever.

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

That followed a defense policy statement in July, in which New Zealand said China's rising influence in the South Pacific could undermine regional stability, and alluded to tension in the disputed South China Sea, sparking complaint from China.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Air New Zealand for comment.

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

California Gov. Gavin Newsom to recall troops from Mexico border
Brown also ordered that the guard members not enforce immigration laws or participate in the building of a border barrier. Newsom's decision to rollback Brown's troop deployment at the border does not come as a surprise.

"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 same flight, NZ289, was turned back on a flight to China on Aug 24 past year, although an airline spokeswoman said that was due to an engineering issue, not a permitting one.

Ardern was scheduled to visit China early this year but the invitation has been put on hold. "But actually the decision around 5G and how that is rolled out is governed by a regulation, a process that checks that whatever decision we make is in the best interest of New Zealanders data and security", she said.

"Our relationship with China is a complex relationship, it sometimes will have its challenges, but they remain an incredibly important economic and people-to-people partner".

Subsequently New Zealand telco company Spark said it would not use the company as part of the 5G roll-out, although justice minister Andrew Little has stopped short of calling it a ban.

"This airplane failed to obtain a landing permit with its destination and decided on its own accord to return en route", she said.

Latest News