Jacinda Ardern is scheduled to have two dates today at the Great Hall of the People after touching down in Beijing last night.
She will have a working lunch with Premier Li Keqiang (about 5 pm NZ time) at which the substance side of the visit will take place.
And she will return later for a relatively brief encounter with President Xi Jinping, the symbolic side of the visit.
She has met both men before, Xi at Apec in Danang, Vietnam, and Li at the East Asia Summit in Manila, both in 2017 shortly after Ardern became Prime Minister, then Li at the East Summit in Singapore last November and Xi at Apec in Papua New Guinea.
This is the fourth time Arden has been to China but her first as Prime Minister.
She went twice about 10 years ago in her 20s when she was president of the International Socialist Youth and once to see a friend.
Before today's high-level meetings, Ardern will open the flash new New Zealand embassy in Beijing.
In diplomatic parlance, New Zealand's "footprint" in China is large.
As well as the embassy, New Zealand has consular offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, the latter two opened in the past 10 years.
The embassy is New Zealand's largest abroad, a chancery for 80 staff from 10 Government agencies including foreign affairs, trade and enterprise, education, primary industries, immigration, police, defence, customs, and science and innovation.
It also home to ambassador Clare Fearnley.
The new embassy has been built at a cost of $50 million on the site of New Zealand's first embassy, acquired in 1973 soon after Norman Kirk's Labour Government recognised Mao's China.
It has used local materials that look similar to New Zealand schist, tawa and rimu.
The office has been up and running since July last year.
Until the Christchurch massacre changed everything, a gala opening had been planned which would have included a kapa haka group.