Taiwan, France sign 2nd undersea archaeological pact


From Christie Chen - Focus Taiwan

Taiwan and France signed Tuesday their second pact since 2007 to continue bilateral cooperation on underwater archaeological research, saying that the cooperation will focus on research, training and site preservation.
Representatives from Taiwan's Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA) and the Department for Underwater and Undersea Archeological Research (DRASSM) under France's Ministry of Culture inked the four-year pact at a ceremony in Taipei.

Wang Shou-lai, an official of the CCA, said the pact will allow Taiwan to benefit from advanced French technology in underwater archeology and learn from its laws protecting underwater resources.

It will also allow Taiwan to send personnel to France to receive training and translate French undersea archeology publications to benefit local studies, he said.

Tsang Cheng-hwa, an archaeologist and researcher at Academia Sinica, said a team of more than 10 researchers is planning to explore the marine environment of Taiwan's Dongsha Atoll in the South China Sea from April through May.

He said historical documents show that at least 40 ships from countries such as Spain, Portugal, Japan and Sweden have sunk in the area and that his team could benefit from French resources in hunting for the wrecks.

"The French department (DRASSM) in Marseille has very advanced technology, underwater vehicles and diving equipment," said Tsang.

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