Taiwan and Australia on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding that commits the two sides to work together on cultural initiatives, such as preserving underwater cultural assets and restoring their cultural heritage.
Minister of Culture Hung Meng-chi (洪孟啟) said the Bureau of Cultural Heritage signed the memorandum with AusHeritage, a network of cultural heritage management organizations established by the Australian government in 1996, to more closely align Taiwan with the international community.
AusHeritage has helped Taiwan preserve cultural heritage for more than two decades, starting in late 1994, when Australian architect Bruce Pettman helped the Baoan Temple (保安宮) in Taipei’s Dalongdong (大龍峒) area combat dampness and restore its frescos.
In 2002, it helped the ministry select potential cultural heritage sites, and in 2011, it took part in Kinmen’s preparations for applying to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.
AusHeritage chairman Vinod Daniel said the signing formalizes the long-term collaboration between his organization and Taiwan, and is a step further in expanding bilateral cooperation, including on underwater archeology.
“I can see this being a full-on collaboration between the two countries,” he said.
Daniel added that an action plan would be put together over the next six months for projects such as one involving the Shuei-Jin-Jiou mine site comprising the Shueinandong (水湳洞) copper mine, Jinguashih (金瓜石) gold mine and Jioufen (九份) coal mine areas.
Cultural Heritage Bureau Director-General Shy Gwo-lung (施國隆) said AusHeritage Vice Chairman Ian Cook would visit the site in June.
“We hope to draw on their experience to help us push for the inclusion of Shuei-Jin-Jiou as a World Heritage site,” he said.
The bureau also plans to invite Australian experts for an international conference on underwater archeology this summer and explore the underwater environment on Green Island (綠島), he said.
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