ASEAN countries welcome cultural meetings

Updated: 2011-10-17 22:11


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CHONGQING - China and ASEAN countries will see closer cultural cooperation, as the two sides made a decision to schedule cultural ministerial meetings at the ongoing 12th Asia Arts Festival in southwest China's Chongqing municipality.

The consensus to hold regular ministerial meetings was reached based on China's proposal at the China and ASEAN (10+1) Cultural Ministerial Meeting on October 10.

The future China and ASEAN (10+1) cultural ministerial meetings, in comparison with the existing cultural ministerial meeting of ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea (10+3), will allow exchanges between China and ASEAN member countries to be more targeted and direct, said Arief Maulana, culture officer of the ASEAN Secretariat.

The previous cultural exchanges between China and the Association of Southwest Asian Nations (ASEAN) were conducted within the 10+3 framework, which had several limitations.

"Previous cooperation relied on individual projects, rather than a stable mechanism," Maulana said. "ASEAN countries want to learn about China's best practices in cultural heritage protection, cultural industry development and cultural policy-making."

"The establishment of the 10+1 mechanism will not only promote cultural protection, but also help spread our culture to regions outside Asia," Maulana said.

The 10+1 cultural ministerial meeting on October 10 is part of a 10-day arts festival that will run from October 10 to 20, marking the 20th anniversary of the establishment of dialogues between China and the ASEAN.

The festival, hosted by China's Ministry of Culture, includes a range of events, such as the Asian Culture Forum, during which the Chongqing Declaration was reached.

The Chongqing Declaration, issued at the closing ceremony of the Asian Culture Forum, states that cultural and art institutions from Asian countries should carry out further dialogues and cooperation and effectively make use of different cultural resources to promote the development of Asian culture and arts.

"The launch of the Asian Culture Forum has expanded cultural communication forms among Asian countries from communication between artists to large-scale exchanges between research institutions and organizations," said Wang Chen, an official with the Bureau for External Cultural Relations under China's Culture Ministry.

Based on the consensus reached at the October 10 ministerial meeting, China and ASEAN are dedicated to advancing their cooperation to a more pragmatic level.

"It is now time for more practical cooperation and ASEAN countries would like to see a concrete action plan in cultural cooperation," said Wang.

He proposed that China and ASEAN further collaborate in cultural heritage preservation, the construction of a cultural resource database and personnel training.

The current task is to decide on the details of the 10+1 mechanism, such as the frequency and schedule for holding ministerial meetings, as well as priorities for future cooperation, said Maulana.

Maulana added that ASEAN would like more support from China in the development of small- and medium-sized companies in the cultural industry.

For ASEAN countries, the establishment of the 10+1 mechanism means that cultural exchanges will be a "two-way street," said Felipe de Leon, chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines.

Indonesia hopes to enhance cultural exchanges with China and protect Asian cultural diversities against threats posed by globalization, said Agus Sartono, Indonesia's deputy coordinating minister for people's welfare.

"Singapore wants to strengthen cooperation with China in traditional arts, such as martial arts, and invite Chinese artists to Singapore so that local fans can get a better understanding of traditional culture," said Sim Gim Guan, deputy secretary of Singapore's Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts.

The first official meeting of China and ASEAN (10+1) cultural ministers will be held in Singapore in 2012.