Cambodia has welcomed China’s pledge to support a royal palace research project at in the Angkor area and a preservation initiative at the Preah Vihear temple.
The endorsement comes after the country’s previous assistance in restoring other temples in Angkor area, namely Chau Say Tevta and Takeo.
Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona and Li Qun, China’s vice minister for Culture and Tourism, met on September 17 on the sidelines of the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Sackona emphasised the long standing friendship between the countries, noting that their collaborations extend back to the Angkorian period.
“We welcome China’s commitment to a royal palace research project and the Preah Vihear conservation initiative. [They] have also shown interest in supporting the Kingdom’s cultural innovation in the future,” she said.
Sum Map, spokesperson for the ministry, told The Post on September 19 that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed for these projects. The MoU has also received approval from the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor (ICC-Angkor). Despite the agreement, discussions between the two sides are ongoing.
“China, like many other countries, engages with us in cultural initiatives. It has been a means to strengthen international cooperation in line with government policy,” Map added.
Chhort Bunthang, a research officer at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, lauded the cultural partnership, stating that Cambodia’s ancient temples are not only heritage sites but also part of the natural environment.
“These structures, while weather-beaten, are prone to additional damage and need vigilant conservation and repair,” he said.
Bunthang expressed hope that, through both foreign assistance and the nation’s own efforts, these projects would have long-lasting impact.