Jacinda Ardern's quick trip to China - what to expect

Jacinda Ardern's quick trip to China is expected to be more symbolic than substantial.

The Prime Minister will spend a little more than a day there, meeting with both the President and Premier.

The trip - her first to the Middle Kingdom as Prime Minsiter - comes a day after the much-delayed launch of the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism initiative.

Political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University says it makes some sense to keep it short in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack two weeks ago.

"Now that China has extended an invitation to the Prime Minister, she had no choice but to take it. But she knew she couldn't go for too long, or it would look like she was neglecting New Zealand."

Ardern previously said the trip was meant to be longer with a business focus.

A possible tension point is our spy agency blocking the Chinese-owned Huawei's 5G network, over security fears.

Dr Edwards says nobody really knows how damaged the relationship is.

"Simply by not inviting Jacinda Ardern to visit over the last year, has sent a very strong signal that China is quite angry."

Dr Edwards says she's got a good opportunity to strengthen ties - but there's no time for much else.

"All she will really be wanting is to get away without any great negative outcomes, and that relationship being healed."

Ardern will return on Tuesday.