Samoan PM eyes ties beyond China

New Samoan Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa hopes to strengthen ties with Japan and other nations instead of relying too heavily on China.

Fiame, who took office in July, spoke in an interview with NHK on Friday.

China has been supporting a port development project in Samoa. Fiame said her administration has informed Beijing that it plans to scrap the project. She expressed concern about the "debt factor".

Fiame said her country should be prioritizing other matters. She also expressed hope about working on projects with Japan and other partners.

Beijing has been increasing its influence among Pacific island nations with large financial incentives. China is the largest creditor in Samoa, accounting for 40 percent of the country's external debt.

Fiame said, "We're very mindful to be focused on what our needs are and how we continue the bilateral relationship with China as a development partner."