China has lodged "stern representations with New Zealand" after the Defence Force explicitly named China as a threat before spending $2.3 billion on anti-submarine aircraft.
China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a press conference on 9 July China is a "builder of world peace."
"We urge New Zealand to view the relevant issue in an objective way, correct its wrong words and deeds and contribute more to the mutual trust and cooperation between our two countries," Ms Hua told the conference.
The New Zealand Government stands by the words used to describe China's presence and will not be correcting any "wrong words."
"New Zealand is a sovereign nation and whether the United States was telling us to do that or China or any other country, it comes down to our right to see things as we see it in a very responsible way," Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said on Wedneday.
He said there is "no connection in real terms" to trade, so is not concerned about retaliation in that sphere.
The strategic defence paper released last week directly warned of the increasing influence of China. It said while populism is causing some countries to look inward, China is outward-facing.
"China has set an alternative model of democracy - a liberalising economy absent liberal democracy - challenging conventional wisdom in the West that the two go hand-in-hand," the strategic policy statement says.
The document also warned of Russia's influence, particularly with cyber technology, and of uncertainty around the United States' role internationally.
On Monday, Mr Peters danced around directly mentioning China when asked about the Government's decision to purchase four Boeing P-8 Poseidons. The aircraft are designed for, among other specs, "long-range anti-submarine warfare."
When asked about the decision, Mr Peters told media to "join the dots" on the "one party that's responsible" for the militarisation of the South China Sea.
He acknowledged China had registered concern over the paper through its ambassador in New Zealand and New Zealand's ambassador in China.
New Zealand is hardly the first country to purchase the aircraft - they are also used by Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.