The China-New Zealand Year of Tourism 2019 is back on and will begin on March 29 after Beijing postponed the campaign in mid-February amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement on Monday, adding that the tourism year will be launched at the national museum Te Papa in Wellington. Details of a planned visit by Ardern to China have yet to be finalised, though New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker will be taking part in a Belt and Road Forum to be held in Beijing next month. Ardern said she was invited to visit China “some time ago and we have been working on both sides to find a mutually convenient time for the visit”. In the works for nearly two years, the tourism year’s postponement by the Chinese side over “scheduling issues” came amid heightened tensions in the two countries’ relationship following the decision late last year by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau to bar Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from being involved in the nationwide roll-out of a next-generation 5G network. New Zealand bans Huawei from 5G, China has message for New Zealand Wellington’s relationship with Beijing has faced scrutiny at home and abroad, but Ardern has stressed that economic ties remain strong. “Visitor numbers in the last year are up 8.4 per cent. There’s also been an increase in goods exports by 20 per cent in the year to September,” she said last month. “That demonstrates the strength of our economic engagement and, I would also say, demonstrates the importance of a bipartisan approach to our relationship.” China is New Zealand’s second largest tourism market, behind Australia , with more than 450,000 visitors in 2018, which is projected to increase to 800,000 annual visitors by 2024. Hongzhi Gao, associate professor of international business at Victoria University of Wellington, said that New Zealand has long found itself performing a balancing act when it comes to foreign and economic affairs. “What New Zealand should be clear on is that there is no compromise on national sovereignty and security, but there can be compromises on economic interests,” said Gao. Huawei launches charm offensive, appealing to New Zealand’s love of rugby Jason Young, director of the university’s New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre, said “a lot of people interpreted the postponing of the tourism year as a sign there were issues in the bilateral relationship”. “This shows there is still a really solid economic relationship between the two countries, and this is an opportunity as well for people from both countries to learn about the other and explore the other’s country,” he said. While moving forward with the tourism year is a positive for both countries, the bilateral relationship still faces destabilising forces – especially the trade war between the United States and China, according to Gao. “Largely because the US-China trade tension is still not resolved, the global business environment is still on a quaking ground. The New Zealand-China relationship will not be fully stabilised and cannot progress until the global trading order is restored or re-established,” he said.