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Sat, May 27, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Chen visits National Palace Museum

PAYING RESPECTS The president says that Taiwan's national treasures are world-class artifacts; unique to the ROC's history, but also a small slice of global culture

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

During a visit to the National Palace Museum (故宮博物院) yesterday, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said that in the future, the museum would make an effort to "connect with world culture" as well as "focus on local culture."

After placing flowers at the CKS Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂) and visiting former First Lady Faina Chiang (蔣方良), Chen visited the museum as a traditional third step in expressing his respects as president.

While meeting with Palace Museum officials yesterday, Chen inspected the national treasures and then spent two hours enjoying a tour of the current antique exhibition.

Chen told the new director of the Palace Museum, Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝), that both the government and people had suffered hardships in the past transporting the national treasures of the Palace Museum to Taiwan.

"These are world-class examples of preserved culture. But we should not gloat over our achievements in this respect," he said.

"We should bring the Palace Museum to the world and the world to the museum," (讓故宮走出去, 是世界走進來) Chen said.

"As part of this new era, we also have to see Taiwan's unique local culture as a part of Chinese and indeed global culture, he said.

During his visit, Chen dismissed previous claims by China that the national treasures in the museum are the property of China.

"The national treasures belong to the people of the Republic of China," Chen said, "and they should neither be moved to other institutions nor be used as bargaining chips in cross-strait negotiations," he said.

When asked whether the administrative status of the museum would be changed from Executive Yuan control to oversight by the Presidential Office, Chen provided no specific answer, but was willing to listen to a wide range of opinions.

"The National Palace Museum is certainly a world-class as well as national-level institute," Chen said. "If the museum maintains its direction, the question of which administrative level it should be promoted to is not important."

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