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Cultural co-operation highlighted
By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-14 05:15

FOSHAN, Guangdong: Cultural exchange and co-operation has been spotlighted by the Cultural Asia Ministerial Forum, which concluded on Saturday in Foshan, South China's Guangdong Province.

The Foshan Statement, signed by 23 Asian ministers of culture, pledges a belief in cultural exchange and co-operation as a way of maintaining diversity, achieving prosperity, and enhancing friendship.

"After wide-ranging and in-depth discussions, we have reached consensus to promote cultural co-operation between Asian countries and regions," said China's Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng.

In the statement, ministers recognized that in the process of economic globalization, the role of culture in international relations and social development is becoming increasingly prominent.

The statement said governments from Asian countries and regions will invest more in enhancing cultural co-operation within the region.

In terms of strengthening cultural exchange among Asian countries and regions, Sun said that various cultural and art events, including cultural forums, are expected to take place in the years to come.

He also revealed that there will be a special cultural week for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) included in next year's Asia Arts Festival to display and promote folk arts development in the region.

Priorities in regional development will be given to promoting unique arts and culture, and more joint efforts to protect cultural heritage within Asia, the statement said.

"Asia has contributed much to the world's cultural development. However, we are facing a common problem of how to protect and develop our unique culture and folk arts," Sun said.

"We have neglected, to some degree, the importance of cultural development. For years efforts have been too much focussed on technological development," Sri Hastanto, Indonesia's vice-minister of culture and tourism, told China Daily.

He said Asia should protect and further develop its unique cultures and arts.

(China Daily 11/14/2005 page3)

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