'We don't tell them what to do', Winston Peters says of Samoa as they plan multi-million dollar Chinese funded port

Samoa is planning a large-scale Chinese-funded port costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

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There are concerns in the region that China will set up a military base in the region Source: 1 NEWS

The new port, at Vaiusu Bay, would have separate areas for cruise ships, container ships and fishing boats.

In an exclusive interview Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malialegaoi told 1 NEWS that it's crucial the new port be built as soon as possible as the current one is small, heavily congested and subjected to heavy swells during the first six months of the year.

He said Japan turned down Samoa’s request and given the huge scale of the project no other countries are keen to be on board.

However, China has agreed pending a final feasibility study.

"We had opened the project for any good Samaritan and there is only one good Samaritan that came on board," Mr Tuilaepa said.

1 NEWS understands the cost could be around US$300 million – nearly half a billion New Zealand dollars.

But it's hoped the finance from China will be a grant and not a concessional loan.

There are concerns over China’s growing influence in the region and fears it wants to set up a military base in the Pacific.

Tuilaepa has rubbished the idea and says its hogwash that Samoa could be used in such a way.

"We never understand how this military garbage creeps in and always admire the Chinese for responding to our calls," he said.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters who’s in Vanuatu visiting New Zealand aid projects said Samoa’s plan appears to be "massively huge" for its needs.

"The Samoan government is a sovereign nation … we don't tell them what to do," he says.

"If they ask us for help as to whether this is a good idea and whether engineering will stand up, and that's going to be real question on this issue, we are happy to give advice."