Samoa's first woman Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa promises to scrap a China-bankrolled $100 million port development - saying the plan exceeded the country's needs and would increase its debt to China.
The cancellation is a decisive exit from the close ties China enjoyed with Samoa under the 23-year term of outgoing Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Kyodo News reported Wednesday.
The government led by Mataafa's FAST party expects to reconvene parliament as early as Wednesday, after Samoa's appeals court decided in favor of the new government's legitimacy Friday - ending three months of political deadlock.
Mataafa's FAST party beat Tuilaepa's Human Rights Protection Party by one vote in April's general election - triggering a constitutional crisis as Tuilaepa refused to accept defeat.
In a statement issued Saturday after the court's recognition Mataafa, 64, thanked the people of Samoa for their patience and support.
"It's now time for all of us to get back to work and make Samoa the country which all of us can be proud of," Kyodo News quoted the leader saying.
Mataafa, who took office Tuesday, said she hoped to maintain good relations with China but that Samoa had more pressing needs than a new port.
According to Global Construction Review, the port would have accommodated 12 ships at a time, raising worries among China watchers in the U.S. and Australia that it might be used for military purposes.
The China embassy in Apia, Samoa's capital, dismissed suggestions of a military agenda - telling the Samoa Observer in February China was conducting a feasibility study only at the request of the Samoa government and allegations were unfounded.
China is Samoa's biggest creditor accounting for around 40% - or roughly $160 million - of its external debt, Reuters said.
Fiame's election victory is viewed as a milestone for Samoa, a country with a population of 200,000, and the rest of the South Pacific - which has had few female leaders.
<iframe width="1280" height="720" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/t6za3zk3nt0" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>