26 Feb 2015

Tuilaepa praises Samoa-China links

9:03 am on 26 February 2015

Samoa's Prime Minister says there is room in the Pacific region for a wide range of development partners.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has paid tribute to his country's strong links with China at a conference at the National University of Samoa which is examining China's role in the region.

Several speakers at the 'China and the Pacific' conference have questioned perceptions in the western commentaries that China wishes to replace the islands' traditional partners.

Tuilaepa says media perceptions about China are often far from reality.

He says China's assistance in the region is aimed at meeting needs expressed by the island countries themselves.

"The problem of course is that different countries, development partners of the region, have different priorities, and that's why I mention that China comes in as providing supplementary resources available to the region, covering those areas which are not covered in traditional aid donors' programmes."

Samoa's prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.