ASEAN, China culture ministers agree on dialogue mechanism

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - ASEAN and Chinese culture ministers agreed to establish a dialog mechanism to strengthen cooperation in the cultural field, promote development in the sector and overcome challenges met during the accord`s implementation.

The dialogue mechanism was expected to be a means of strengthening "people-to-people" relationships, cultural exchanges and creating an integrated program, according to a press release from the Indonesian Embassy in China received here on Monday.

It describes the outcome of the meeting of culture ministers of ASEAN and China (10 +1) in Chongqing, People`s Republic of China (PRC), on 20 to 11 October 2011.

The meeting was held in parallel with "The Asian Cultural Forum" (10 +3) and "The 12th Asian Art Festival" in the same place. PRC Ministry of Culture, Cai Wu, acted as the host while the Indonesian delegation led by R Agus Sartono, Deputy for Religion and Education of the office of the Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare.

The Chinese minister said that in the two decades since 1991, ASEAN and PRC have been working together to overcome obstacles and challenges with mutual trust in political and economic cooperation.

In the field of culture, he said, ASEAN and PRC have signed a memorandum of understanding on cultural cooperation in 2005. Dialogue and cooperation between ASEAN and PRC in the field of cultural industries, human resource development (SDM) and cultural heritage preservation also have grown rapidly, although more still have yet to be improved.

Agus Sartono said that in the era of globalization, ASEAN and PRC need to reaffirm their agreement to strengthen cooperation in the cultural field.

ASEAN and PRC, he said, must maintain and at the same time respect cultural differences to enhance mutual understanding. The uniqueness of each culture should be kept with the spirit of togetherness.

He said that it would be a disaster if the ASEAN countries and the PRC can not maintain the uniqueness of each other`s cultures because the next generation will lose the opportunity to appreciate the history of the nations.

Representing ASEAN, Agus said many Chinese historical relics scattered throughout the ASEAN region showing how long the history of the relationship between the two sides is.

He added that ASEAN and PRC relationship is tightened by strong commitment to building peace, prosperity, and harmony in the region.

He said the responsibility to maintain the culture is not only in the hands of the government, but also other stakeholders such as academics, private sector, and businessmen. (*)