Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) yesterday said that the ministry was considering working with China in nominating outstanding places in Taiwan that could be included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Lung said the ministry has come up with a list of 18 potential World Heritage Sites in Taiwan.
“However, since we are not a UN member, we cannot apply for recognition on our own. The ministry is discussing with the Mainland Affairs Council [MAC] the possibility of putting this issue on the agenda for negotiations between China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation,” Lung told lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee.
Lung said cultural heritage is an issue that supersedes ideological differences and is separate from politics.
“The two sides of the Taiwan Strait have already built up a good basis for cooperation, so we hope to collaborate with Beijing on the basis of mutual respect and spirit of cooperation,” she said.
“As for the details and the technical aspects, further talks will be needed,” Lung said.
Responding to questions on whether Taiwanese cultural assets would be listed under the Chinese government, Lung said: “Absolutely not.”
Separately, when asked for comments, MAC spokesperson Wu Mei-hung (吳美紅) said the council has to further discuss the matter with the ministry.
Wu added that cross-strait exchanges and negotiations must be taken up under the principle of equality and mutual respect.
Among the sites listed by the ministry as potential World Heritage Sites are the Fort San Domingo in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Tamsui (淡水) and its surrounding historical buildings, the Tatun Volcano Group (大屯火山群), Cilan Mountain Cypress Forest (棲蘭山檜木林), Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園), the Beinan Site and Mount Dulan (卑南遺址與都蘭山) and the Paiwan and Rukai Settlements of Slate Constructions (排灣及魯凱石板屋聚落).