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UPDATED: June 25, 2013
China Cheered for Adding Two World Heritage Sites

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the 37th session of the UNESCO's World Heritage Committee Sok An hailed China on Monday for having two new properties inscribed on the World Heritage List.

The plenary session of the World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe China's Xinjiang Tianshan natural property and Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces on the World Heritage List on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Sok An lauded China for paying particular attention to protect and preserve heritage sites.

"Through my different visits, I notice that the Chinese Government has given high consideration to preserve both world heritage and national heritage sites," he told a press conference.

He underlined that China is the second largest owner of world heritage sites with 45 on the World Heritage List, next only to Italy that has 49 on the List.

"But in terms of preservation, I highly appreciate China's efforts in preserving those sites," he said. "I feel that the Chinese Government uses culture and heritage as a means to build up the country."

"The inscriptions truly reflect another model role of China in protecting and preserving its exceptional natural beauty and cultural value," Ek Tha, a spokesman for the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee, told Xinhua.

The 37th session of the World Heritage Committee ended its consideration of adding new sites to the World Heritage List on Sunday.

The session had inscribed 17 other natural and cultural sites around the globe on the prestigious list, bringing the total number of the World Heritage sites to 981, according to a UNESCO's press statement.

The 21-member committee also added six World Heritage sites in Syria to the List of World Heritage in Danger due to the country's civil war that caused heavy damage to the sites.

In addition, it placed the World Heritage site of East Rennell in Solomon Islands on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to logging that is affecting the ecosystem of the site, while the World Heritage site of Bam and its Cultural Landscape in Iran, struck by a major earthquake, were removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

According to Sok An, Qatar will host the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee next year.

(Xinhua News Agency June 24, 2013)

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