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China to fund restoration of Angkor Thom site

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The Phimeanakas temple in Siem Reap province in 2013. Diego Delso, delso.photo, License CC-BY-SA

China to fund restoration of Angkor Thom site

China will fund a restoration project, slated to start in mid-2018, at an ancient royal palace complex within the Angkor Thom archaeological site in Siem Reap province, officials said yesterday. Long Kosal, spokesman for the Apsara Authority, said the palace is centuries old, and while it has had restorations in the past, more work is still needed.

Apsara Authority has a risk map to identify and categorise the needs for rehabilitation. “The royal palace is one of the priority points that need to be preserved and restored,” he said.

Ly Vanna, director of the Department of Conservation of Angkor Monuments, said the project will include restoration of the northwest and southwest gates and wall enclosures, as well as brick and stone structures inside the central Phimeanakas temple.

“Apsara Authority and a Chinese team have been . . . preparing a feasibility study in order to determine the priority of intervention,” he said. However, Kosal said the amount of money needed for the project, which China has already committed to provide, hasn’t been determined.

Kosal added that a group of Chinese experts will also carry out an archaeological survey of Prasat Beng Mealea temple in Siem Reap’s Svay Leu district to identify restoration needs.

Representatives at the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh did not respond to requests for comment.

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