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On October 28, the Ministry of Culture invited cultural workers from ten ASEAN countries to hold a salon, including Shih Chien University’s vice principal Kuan Cheng-Neng, Malaysia’s Datuk Wu Heng-can and 19 other important figures who have long been following Southeast Asian cultural issues. They will also form the Ministry of Culture’s first Southeast Asian advisory committee and play a key role in strengthening the cultural cooperation between Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

Minister of the Ministry of Culture Hung Meng-chi says that Taiwan enjoys rich cultural experiences and language assets brought by the nearly one million Southeast Asian friends. This is Taiwan’s fortune and valuable asset. He believes that Taiwan and Southeast Asia can find mutual goals and take practical actions from their shared experiences.

RTI reports, Zhou Bei-ji, director of the Department of Cultural Exchanges of the Ministry of Culture, says that the Southeast Asian advisory committee is the Ministry of Culture’s first cultural exchange platform for ASEAN countries. She hopes that through observations and suggestions of the advisers, Taiwan and Southeast Asia can increase the amount of cultural exchanges and cooperation.

Merit Times reports, during the salon, Malaysia’s Datuk Wu Heng-can said that Taiwan is the leader of Chinese culture in the world and he has great interest in developments of the craft culture, archaeological research and policies of cultural and creative industry in Taiwan. He believes Taiwan can provide good examples for Malaysia. Thai art critic Thanom Chapakdee expresses hope that this platform can also be extended to other Southeast Asian countries.

UDN reports, Zhang Zheng, founder of the Southeast Asia bookstore, Brilliant Times, says that Taiwan has 600 thousand foreign workers and 200 thousand immigrants from Southeast Asia. It’s a shame that people in Taiwan have overlooked the importance of Southeast Asia.

Zhang stresses that the culture is the advantage of Taiwan. The island has a heritage of Chinese culture as well as having absorbed Japanese and Western cultures. On the other hand, Taiwanese aboriginals and different ethnic groups in Southeast Asia have also shared some commonalities. He says that culture is the best way to build a long-lasting diplomacy and Taiwan should cherish its 800 thousand Southeast Asian immigrants as a strong potential for future cultural diplomatic relations.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang