He made headlines after warning Australia to stay out of China and the United States' quarrels, but who exactly is Premier Li Keqiang?

The Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China is the country's second-most powerful politician and has a huge influence on economic policy.

Li will visit New Zealand this week with his wife Professor Cheng Hong to mark 45 years of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China.

Last year Forbes named Li the 12th most powerful person in the world, ahead of UK Prime Minister Theresa May in 2016.

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The 61 year-old, an economist by training, last visited New Zealand in 2009. During that time he opened Christchurch-based Confucius Institute and signed a number of bilateral agreements with the Government.

In January Bloomberg published an article penned by Li outlining his plans on how China would face uncertainty and his thoughts on free-trade.

In the article Li said China was "convinced that economic openness serves everyone better, at home and abroad.

"The world is a community of shared destiny. It's far preferable for countries to trade goods and services and bond through investment partnerships than to trade barbs and build barriers," he wrote.

Discussions around free-trade is on Li's agenda, where he is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Bill English on Monday with a 200-strong group of delegates.

Li was previously in Canberra where he delivered a strong message to officials: "We don't want to see (Australia) taking sides, as happened during the Cold War", the Australian reported.

Li became Premier in 2013 after serving as vice-Premier for six years.