The head of the New Zealand-China Council has praised Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's willingness to visit China during a period of stress for New Zealand in the wake of the Christchurch attacks.
On Monday, Ardern confirmed she will visit China on Sunday for a one-day trip to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
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"I have cut it back to one day of meetings," she said of her trip, citing her commitments to New Zealand in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack. It was intended to be a longer trip but under the circumstances it "didn't seem appropriate".
Her willingness to still visit the country showed the importance she placed on its relationship with Aotearoa, according to the executive director of the New Zealand-China Council, Stephen Jacobi.
"The fact that she is going at a time of some stress and strain in our country and on her personally, I think, shows the importance of the relationship and the effort she is prepared to put in," he told Newshub.
Jacobi said there was a lot to cover while she was there.
"I think she can have a useful visit in the course of a day. Of course, it would have been preferable in other circumstances to have had a longer visit with a larger delegation."
Ardern's visit comes after speculation of soured relations between the countries.
Her scheduled visit to China was last year put on hold, prompting speculation China may have taken offence to the Government Security Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) warning against Spark using Huawei's equipment for 5G.
Earlier this month Ardern confirmed the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism launch event in Wellington would go ahead after it was postponed in February by China.
An article published in the China People's Daily, considered a mouthpiece for the Chinese state, also claimed tourists were turning away from New Zealand.