Tue, Feb 17, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Palace Museums ink exchange deal

AFP , BEIJING

China’s national museum will lend some prized cultural artifacts to the National Palace Museum in Taipei what could become a long-hoped- for exchange program between the two, officials and media said yesterday.

The National Palace Museum, located in Beijing’s Forbidden City, will send 29 Qing Dynasty relics to Taiwan for a joint exhibition in October, the China Daily reported.

The exchange will be the first since the civil war ended in 1949, when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) forces carted off crates of some of the finest imperial treasures once housed in the Forbidden City to Taiwan.

The cultural exchange was agreed to at a ceremony on Sunday at the Forbidden City for a delegation from Taiwan and officials from the Chinese museum, the paper said.

“The significance of the first formal visit in 60 years by a delegation from Taipei Palace Museum to its counterpart in Beijing cannot be overestimated,” the paper said in an editorial. “However, efforts should also be made for the treasures in Taipei to travel to the mainland to realize a truly two-way exchange.”

Taiwan is reluctant to lend cultural relics to China out of fears that Beijing would “impound” them, the paper said.

But talks would begin this week over a possible joint exhibition by both museums during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, it said.

“We really need to boost our communication to better serve people across the straits,” the paper quoted National Palace Museum Director Chou Kung-hsin (周? as saying. “We have realized how sincere the mainland has been in inviting us to every corner of the Forbidden City.”

A spokesman at China’s National Palace Museum confirmed that officials from the two museums had met but refused to comment on the upcoming exchange.

“The leaders of the two Palace Museums ... held their first ever talks and exchanged views on cooperation between experts and academics and how to make such contacts regular in the future,” the spokesman said.

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