The Prime Minister has cancelled a planned trip to China next month saying Beijing is busy.
Jacinda Ardern met Premier Li at the ASEAN Summit in Singapore last week and was meant to visit the Chinese capital before the end of the year as a sign of the two countries' close friendship.
It shows a temperature change in the relationship with China amidst the US-China trade war.
Ms Ardern maintains China is one of New Zealand's "most important international relationships".
The Prime Minister said, "We had been hoping that the visit would be this year, but it has been difficult to find a time that suits everyone.
"All capitals are busy approaching the end of the year, and Beijing is no exception. The PM is looking forward to visiting China at the earliest opportunity.
"Visiting Beijing will build on her constructive discussions with Premier Li at the East Asia Summit earlier this month, where a visit was discussed again. It was agreed during those discussions that there is much on which our two countries can work together."
Ms Ardern hopes to visit China next year.