ASEAN member countries have agreed to intensify cooperation in culture and arts in forming the ASEAN Community by 2015.

Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Hoang Tuan Anh told the media that culture is considered a pillar of the region’s sustainable development. He attended the sixth meeting of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Culture and the Arts (AMCA) and related meetings with dialogue partners, including the Republic of Korea (RoK), Japan and China (AMCA+3), which took part in the central city of Hue on April 20.

Anh, who is also the AMCA Chairman, further said member states have acknowledged their cultural accomplishments on the path of realising the regional Cultural – Social Community Plan of Action, citing cultural city projects, music performances and youth volunteer schemes as examples.

At the plenary session, ministers hailed new initiatives that encourage youngsters and cultural activists to engage more in artistic activities.

During the related meetings, China pledged to put the 2014-2018 ASEAN – China cooperation action plan into practice, especially during their cultural exchange year 2014.

Japan presented a new ASEAN cultural exchange policy, which centres on a project to make Asia more interactive through fusion and harmony. Meanwhile, the RoK will work closely with the bloc in preserving and developing cultural values, enhancing capacity for training courses and crafting art products.

Recognising the importance of the ASEAN – China, ASEAN – RoK and ASEAN – Japan Centres, which are tasked with promoting bilateral cultural exchange and tourism, ministers asked the Senior Official Meeting for Culture and Arts participants to join efforts in identifying promising areas for collaboration.

The next AMCA meeting and related talks with dialogue partners will be held in Brunei in 2016.-VNA