Jacinda Ardern announces long-awaited meeting with Chinese president, now set for next week

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will head for China on Sunday, for a long-awaited meeting with the country's leadership.

The trip to China comes after a planned trip in 2018 was postponed because of scheduling issues, and claims the relationship was souring.

Ms Ardern said it would be "scaled right back" from the original plan to visit three cities due to the Christchurch terrorist attack.

"It didn’t feel appropriate for me to be any longer at this point," she said today. 

She will meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. 

"I expect discussions will include a broad range of regional and global issues, including where we have common interests, protecting and promoting a rules-based international trading system, and in combatting climate change," Ms Ardern said. 

She will also officially open New Zealand's new embassy. 

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The Prime Minister told TVNZ1's Q+A New Zealand's relationship with China is still strong but there are "complexities". Source: Q+A

"This is an important visit. New Zealand places a high priority on our relationship with China."

Ms Ardern said the trip was planned prior to the mosque attacks. 

The Prime Minister's first official visit comes after claims of tensions between New Zealand and China, after the Chinese company Huawei's bid to assist in developing New Zealand's 5G network was denied by the GCSB in November last year.

In February, the China-NZ Year of Tourism launch was suddenly postponed, with the event's aim to strengthen economic ties between the two countries through tourism. 

On March 11, the Prime Minister announced the Wellington event would go ahead on March 29.

When asked if its delay was a symbolic move, Ms Ardern said, "this was a scheduling issue".

After its delay, Ms Ardern said officials had been working with the Chinese Embassy to reschedule the official opening ceremony.

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1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay explains what’s at stake for the PM. Source: 1 NEWS