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China to join Notre-Dame reconstruction efforts

Decontamination area at the cathedral of Notre-Dame, 19 August 2019 as works resumed following lead contamination scare
Decontamination area at the cathedral of Notre-Dame, 19 August 2019 as works resumed following lead contamination scare Thomas SAMSON / AFP

Chinese experts will collaborate with France to restore Notre-Dame cathedral, state media announced Wednesday. It comes after a meeting between the two countries' heads of state in Beijing.

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"China and France will collaborate on the theme and model and select Chinese expert candidates for the cooperative restoration work in 2020," Chai Xiaoming, director of the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage said in an interview with state-run China Daily on Wednesday.

Xiaoming was speaking on the third day of French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Beijing, during which he signed contracts totaling $15 billion with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping.

The two leaders also found common ground on Notre-Dame. 

Since the blaze, which took 400 firefighters to control, Chinese and French authorities have been in touch about cooperating on restoration efforts for the 850-year-old cathedral.

Chinese experience

A document jointly signed by the two countries reported that selected experts will join the French team in on-site restoration.

"China has a great deal of experience in renovating ancient buildings affected by fire, especially ones made of wood," Xiaoming said.

"This means we could offer suggestions on how to approach the renovation of the oak-framed roof on Notre Dame Cathedral," he added.

The cathedral, which was scarred in April after a fire tore through its roof and toppled its spire, was the most visited historic monument in Europe.

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