China-Afghanistan-Pakistan co-sign first Asian bilateral cooperation agreements on Asian cultural heritage protection

China, Afghanistan and Pakistan on Tuesday co-signed the first Asian bilateral cooperation agreements on Asian Cultural Heritage Protection during an online workshop.

According to the document “China-Afghanistan and China-Pakistan Joint Statements on Cooperation in the Asian Initiative for Cultural Heritage Conservation,” the three countries will carry out all-round cooperation in joint archaeology, preservation and restoration of cultural property, conservation, management, and sustainable development of world cultural heritage sites, exchange ideas for exhibitions and preservation technology and the prevention of trafficking of cultural property, Li Qun, head of China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA), said at the conference.

Meanwhile, the three countries will work to establish partnerships among grotto temples across Asian countries and plan a number of joint exhibitions of grotto temple artifacts and an exhibition on the Silk Roads to help promote the culture and art of grottoes temples.

Acting Minister of Information and Culture in Afghanistan Mohammad Tahir Zuhair and Joint Secretary of National Heritage and Culture Division in Pakistan Muhammad Murid Rahimoon both expressed their great willingness to promote the development of Asian Ccltural heritage.

Tahir Zuhair noted that Afghanistan was an important hub on the ancient Silk Road, and has a brilliant and rich cultural heritage. But due to wars, many cultural sites have been damaged and need to be restored.

An employee surnamed Dang from the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage told the Global Times on Tuesday that China and Afghanistan might co-launch cultural artifacts restoration efforts after the COVID-19 pandemic ends to help restore some grottoes in Afghanistan, while archaeologists from Pakistan are more interested in learning to use cutting-edge technologies such as 3D scanning and digital modeling.

In October, China will also hold the Asian Cultural Heritage Protection Dialogue in Beijing.

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