A former Trade Minister says China has clearly put New Zealand on notice over the treatment of Huawei.
Jacinda Ardern's trip to our single biggest trading partner is yet to be given a date - despite the invite being extended last year.
However, Philip Burdon, a former National government trade minister and recently chairman of the Asia New Zealand Foundation told Mike Hosking China is clearly putting New Zealand on notice.
"They expect more even-handed treatment than they believe they have had."
"Clearly, they regard the Huawei treatment as a specific exercise in discrimination, driven no doubt by what they see as the American influence and we are perceived as having taken sides and they are obviously making it very clear that they expect to have a more even treatment."
He said China is an extremely important trading partner for New Zealand.
"The major players, meaning China and/or the United States, are quite relaxed and indeed prepared to use trade retaliation as a reality of their international relations if they think they are being unfairly treated."
"The challenge for New Zealand is that we are being even-handed in our treatment."
"[China] has obviously made it very clear that they don't expect to see New Zealand being deemed as a surrogate for American politics at any level," he said.
Burdon said New Zealand needs to be very careful to not take sides.
"We do have issues and obviously we have to make it very clear..that we have an even-handed relationship with these two major superpowers, that we are not taking sides."