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Austronesian languages conference opens

2017/11/13 18:55:58

Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁)

Taipei, Nov. 13 (CNA) The 2017 International Austronesian Languages Conference opened Monday, with Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) reiterating that Taiwan aims to forge a special diplomatic link with its Pacific allies.

That special diplomatic link must be built on a foundation of theory and practice, blood ties and culture, Chen said, noting the linguistic similarities shared between Taiwan's indigenous people and their counterparts on Austronesian island nations that have allowed peoples on the two sides to experience each other's cultural beauty.

The theme of the five-day conference, co-hosted by the Ministry of Culture and the Council of Indigenous Peoples, is "Cultural Heritage and Community Empowerment: Anthropological Perspectives on Taiwan's Southbound Connection."

In another speech on the forum's opening day, Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said the National Museum of Prehistory's southern branch will open in Tainan in 2018, and she hoped it will serve as a platform for Taiwan's study of Austronesian cultures.

Icyang Parod (夷將·拔路兒), head of the Council of Indigenous Peoples, also revealed that a National Museum of Indigenous Peoples is expected to open in Kaohsiung in 2023.

"With the opening of the museum, we hope we can restore our lost tribal languages," he told reporters after the conference.

According to Parod, the aim of the museum is to promote Taiwan's cultural diversity and develop connections with Austronesian peoples in the Pacific.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) recently went on an eight-day tour of the Pacific that also was partly directed at tightening bonds with Austronesian peoples.

She described the trip, which end on Nov. 4 and featured stops in Hawaii, Guam and three of Taiwan's diplomatic allies -- Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands -- as a journey of "looking for relatives."

(By H.H. Yu and Flor Wang)