The Herald reports:
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.
Ardern was scheduled to visit China early this year but the invitation has been put on hold.
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.
The initiative was announced by the Key Government almost two years ago when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was in Wellington.
Richard Davies, manager of tourism policy at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, said: “China has advised that this event has had to be postponed due to changes of schedule on the Chinese side.”
Officials are now working with China to reschedule the opening.
Ardern said after the Cabinet meeting yesterday that the official visit to Beijing is being worked on. Late last year she was on standby to visit but said they could not co-ordinate their diaries. New Zealand sources in Beijing say her first visit to China is not expected any time soon.
The decision by the Government’s chief spy agency, the GCSB, to axe Chinese telco giant Huawei from the Spark 5G broadband rollout is seen by China as New Zealand taking sides with the United States. The Trump Administration publicly asked its Five Eyes partners not to do business with Huawei.
It was naive to think that the Huawei decision would not have serious consequences.
Huawei is arguably China’s most successful company. It is a world leader in technology and shows that China is not just good for cheap manufacturing but also innovation and technology.
Shutting Huawei out of a country is seen as nothing less than an act of economic sabotage against China. Especially when the ban is not predicated on any actual behaviour from Huawei, but simply because it is a company based in China and owned by Chinese.
A smart Government can navigate the challenging relationship between the United States and China. John Key formed incredibly strong personal and professional relationships with both the US and Chinese presidents.
The Ardern-Peters Government has done the opposite. We’ve had the US impose tariffs on us, and China will not be advancing the enhanced FTA negotiations anytime soon. In fact I am sure we will see more and more trade barriers emerge.
Sources in Beijing say China plans trade retaliation and the turning back of an Air New Zealand plane at the weekend may not have been a coincidence. Sources say the airline has been trying to secure extra landing slots in Shanghai without success.
Two-way trade with China trebled over the past decade to $27 billion. “The implications for New Zealand are dangerous at every level,” Burdon said.
And danger that we have imposed on ourselves.