The China proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has created a lot of opportunities for cultural cooperation in different forms between Cambodia & China, a Cambodian Curator has said.

Speaking in an interview with Xinhua ahead of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations in Beijing later this month, Kong Vireak, Director of the National Museum of Cambodia, said since the BRI was announced in 2013, he had been invited to China for several times for cultural events under the BRI framework.

“Within five years, I’ve travelled a lot to China to join exhibitions, conferences, seminars, workshops on cultural exchanges,” he said. “Because of the Belt and Road Initiative, we can make a lot of friends, Chinese friends, and we have a lot of exchanges.”

Vireak said the BRI has provided opportunities for Cambodian and Chinese museums to promote cultural ties and for archaeologists to forge friendship and to exchange ideas on cultural development between the two countries.

The curator said Cambodia has selected 10 ancient objects to join an exhibition, which will be held back-to-back with the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations.

“It is a big event,” he said. “This is an opportunity for Cambodia to show our culture and civilisation as well as to share our experience in cultural protection and conservation with other countries and experts,” he said.

The upcoming Asian Civilisation dialogue conference will be held under the theme of exchanges and mutual learning among Asian civilisations and a community with a shared future for Asia and for humanity.

Speaking about cultural cooperation in the future between Cambodia and China, the curator said he wanted to see more cooperation in research on the history of the Cambodia-China relationship and exchanges.

Museum Plays vital Role in Promoting Cultural

Vireak said that most of foreign tourists visiting the National Museum of Cambodia are Chinese.

“The National Museum of Cambodia now plays an important role in showing Cambodian heritage and culture,” he said.

“I can say that now, Chinese tourists run first. Several years ago, Westerners or American visitors ran first, but now we can see the change because Chinese tourists run No. 1 in Cambodia, and Chinese tourists visiting the National Museum of Cambodia have increased quickly,” he added.

The curator said to attract more Chinese visitors to the museum, he has planned to publish a museum brochure or guidebook in Chinese language.

“In the future, as I’ve worked with the Chinese embassy here in Cambodia, we would like to make some publications in Chinese for Chinese tourists,” he said. “Publication is like a catalogue, or a guidebook in Chinese.”

Currently, the museum does not have Chinese tourist guides, he said.

“We don’t have now the Chinese tourist guides that can provide service to Chinese tourists here, but in the future, we’ll have,” he said.

According to Vireak, the National Museum of Cambodia signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Museum of China in January last year to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the areas of exhibition and research.