A top Chinese diplomat says the relationship between China and Samoa has become the model for Beijing's co-operation with Pacific Island countries.
The assessment was given to a visiting Samoan parliamentary delegation by China's special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum, Du Qiwen.
Mr Du said while China's engagement provides important opportunities for development, there is a trade imbalance between Samoa and China which is being addressed.
He said, however, China is doing its part to reduce the South-North development gap by increasing assistance to developing countries.
Mr Du said to this end China's assistance programme was available to eight Pacific countries as concessional loans or grant funding.
He said China respects the freedom of choice of island countries and it is paramount to Beijing that the assistance is received voluntarily.
Mr Du rejected claims that such loans were being used to bolster China's influence, describing such criticism as coming from narrow-minded people.