PHNOM PENH — Cambodia and China on Thursday signed an agreement on preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of cultural property.
The deal was inked between Cambodian Culture and Fine Arts Minister Phoeurng Sackona and Li Xiaojie, director of the Chinese State Administration of Cultural Heritage.
Phoeurng Sackona said the agreement was aimed to further enhance cooperation in the protection of cultural heritage between the two countries.
“It is the third bilateral agreement that Cambodia has signed with friendly countries to protect cultural patrimony,” she said, adding that the first two deals were made with the United States and Thailand.
She said due to the Cambodia’s civil war in the 1970s, a lot of Cambodian ancient objects had been stolen from various temples and illegally exported to other countries.
In the last three years, US auction houses and museums had returned six looted ancient statues to Cambodia, while Thailand returned 16 smuggled ancient treasures to the country.