During Macron's last visit to China in January, 2018, an intergovernmental agreement was signed to set up a comprehensive system of cooperation on cultural heritage, which was also signed in the presence of the two country's state leaders.
That agreement outlined measures to improve the management of UNESCO World Heritage sites, policy-making, the protection of endangered relics, cooperation on underwater archaeology and set up joint exhibitions. A campaign to tackle the illegal trade in cultural property was also unveiled.
"China is now regularly involved in joint projects in archaeology and the conservation of cultural heritage overseas," Chai says. "It has improved our capacity and deeply strengthened our efforts in international cooperation."
At Angkor Wat, the ancient Cambodian temple complex and largest religious monument in the world, experts from the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage and the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient, a leading French institution dedicated to the study of Asian societies, have been sharing resources for cooperative research programs over the past three years.
A program to renovate the ruins of the Royal Palace of Angkor Thom launched by the Cambodian government and led by a team of conservators from Chai's academy working alongside French scholars will also serve as an important reference point for the upcoming renovation work in Paris, Chai says.
"As a country with a rich experience in protecting cultural heritage and a long history of studying Angkor Wat, France has offered us great help," Chai says. "On the other hand, our mindset and traditional practices, which are different from the French side, also gained better recognition through this process of cooperation. This is the true meaning of cross-cultural communication."
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