China a better Pacific friend than US: Samoan PM

China a better Pacific friend than US: Samoan PM

China a better Pacific friend than US: Samoan PM

Updated 1 June 2012, 11:58 AEST

Samoa's Prime Minister says China is a truer friend of Pacific countries than the United States.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele says that China is more flexible in its aid and has proven itself willing to forgive debt.

Samoa is celebrating its Golden Jubilee of Independence from New Zealand.

Many of the largest buildings in the Samoan capital, Apia, have been built by Chinese companies and funded with soft loans from China.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa says it is the sort of help it can't get from its traditional partners.

"We brought the Chinese in," he told Australia Network's Pacific Correspondent, Sean Dorney.

"We asked them to come and fill in the gap that New Zealand and Australia cannot do for us."

Prime Minister Tuilaepa accuses the United States of a lack of interest in the South Pacific.

"You [the US] are only interested in areas where fighting, wars are fought.

"And I know why. So it will help your industries, your war machines. But you're not interested in the Pacific because it is peaceful."

Celebration of stability

Samoa's Prime Minister says his country - which is this week celebrating 50 years of independence from New Zealand - has worked hard to maintain stability.

The Prime Minister has been in power for 14 years and his Human Rights Protection Party has governed for most of the past 30 years.

He says stability has grown since the early days of independence.

"It was not easy for them," he said of the early leaders.

"For one thing, you need to have monies to run the government and to impose tax.

"[That] was something completely new to our people, to impose duty.

"Self sacrifice was not yet absolved and accepted in full, so they had to move very carefully not to alienate the people at the same time."

Meanwhile, Samoa will release 35 prisoners from jail, saying they will be pardoned as part of its independence celebrations.

Head of state Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi announced the pardon to the thousands who gathered at Parliament to mark the Golden Jubilee.