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Report on Chinese military presence "hogwash" — P.M.

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has rubbished reports China’s offer of funding support for the proposed Vaiusu Port Development Project, will enable Beijing to expand its military presence in Samoa and the Pacific.

Describing the report run on T.V.N.Z. 1 News television programme as “hogwash” and “military garbage” in an interview with the Government Press Secretariat, the Prime Minister said there are no strings attached to Beijing’s endorsement and China is the only development partner to respond positively to the Samoa Government’s appeal for funding supporting for the project. 

He says the proposal is not exclusive to the Vaiusu Port Development, and will include a complete overhaul and upgrade to other domestic ports such as Asau, Mulifanua and Salelologa. 

Asau will become a trading port for fisheries. 

The Prime Minister also dismissed reports that the project will cost close to NZ$100 million, saying that the funding component was not discussed, until China completes a feasibility study to determine if the multi-million tala project will proceed.

The P.M. said he remains hopeful after receiving assurances from China that they are “extremely interested”.

New Zealand Deputy P.M. and Foreign Minister Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters, when asked by T.V.N.Z. to comment on the story, said “the Samoan government is a sovereign nation...we don't tell them what to do”.

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