The discussion: reactions from various Asian Embassies

First the representative of the Japanese embassy expressed his strong interest in Encompass on behalf of the Japanese ambassador, who had to leave after the speeches. He stated that the Dutch-Japanese relations extend over a period of 400 years, and that for almost 250 years the former Dutch trading post on Deshima island provided Japan with a "window to the West".  Traditionally researchers from Japan are eager to learn the Dutch language in order to carry out research of Dutch documents on Japan�s trade and the import of Western technology and so on.

Mrs Song Lejing spoke on behalf of the Chinese ambassador, who also had to leave after the speeches. The Chinese embassy fully supports the efforts to involve more Chinese students in the study of Dutch-Chinese relations, in particular in the 18th century, when the VOC had a strong presence in Canton. "The further we can look back", she said, "the further we can look into the future of Dutch-Chinese relations."

Her Excellency Mrs Dinh Thi Minh Huyen, Ambassador of Vietnam, expressed her support for the continuation of the academic cooperation that has begun under the TANAP program. "The study of Dutch is also very useful for studying the history of other Southeast Asian countries," she said.

This was also the point made by His Excellency Mr Duangratana, the Thai ambassador. He mentioned that the Dutch VOC sources are the most important sources for the study of the history of Siam in the 17th and 18th centuries. Further cooperation is considered necessary to develop our understanding of historical Siam.

The Indonesian attaché, Mr Muhadjir, spoke on behalf of Ambassador Mohammad Jusuf, who was away in Canada. Mr Muhadjir expressed his strong support for the program and asked for attention to the Indonesian system of academic degrees and its compatibility with the new Dutch bachelor-master system.

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