Taipei, July 16 (CNA) New National Palace Museum (NPM) Director Chen Chi-nan (陳其南) assumed his post Monday, replacing outgoing Director Lin Jeng-yi (林正儀) at the helm of the museum in suburban Taipei that is famous worldwide.
Chen, 71, who once served as head of the Council of Cultural Affairs (now the Ministry of Culture) during the previous Democratic Progressive Party administration, said during a handover ceremony held at the museum that was witnessed by Minister without Portfolio Lin Wan-yi (林萬億) that he "feels comfortable" taking the position.
"I'm just like a historic relic myself, so I'll not defile the artifacts kept at this museum," he joked when speaking of his academic background in association with cultural anthropology,
Chen, who was born in 1947 -- the same year as the February 28 Incident, an anti-government uprising in Taiwan that was violently suppressed by the Kuomintang-led Republic of China government -- said that "those of us who were born in that year have a responsibility that we cannot dodge."
"We are responsible for Taiwan and we are responsible for history. We can't escape (from that responsibility)," he said, stressing that "I'll do as much as I can for Taiwan regardless of my age."
Chen outlined his vision of turning the NPM into a Taiwan- centric establishment by giving new meaning to it.
"I'll try to make those people who believe in localization to accept the concept that 'the NPM belongs to Taiwan,'" he said, adding that "I'll try to come out with an interpretation that can minimize all related disputes."
The items collected at the NPM are not a result of looting, and even if visitors cannot get to know Taiwan better from the objects exhibited at the museum, "it will not diminish our respect for ancient culture," he said.
"It has nothing to do with national identity," he said.
Noting that Taiwan should play the role of an inheritor of the ancient Chinese artifacts, he explained that "we are preserving the treasures for the entire world and doing so has become a responsibility of Taiwan's people as a result of historical twists."
He also promised to continue the "new NPM plan" broached by Lin to upgrade the viewing quality for visitors to both the Taipei facility and its southern branch in Chiayi County and help promote Taiwan's tourism.
For his part, the outgoing Lin said he is confident that "the NPM will further develop under Chen's direction."
"Chen is committed to passing on Taiwan's culture and he is enthusiastic about advancing Taiwan's cultural dimension," Lin said.