China sends two giant pandas to US as part of its “Panda diplomacy”

World

Published: 2024-02-22 15:42

Last Updated: 2024-04-16 23:25


Giant pandas Mei Xiang, left, and her 3-year-old cub, Xiao Qi Ji, at the National Zoo in Washington last year (File photo/AP)
Giant pandas Mei Xiang, left, and her 3-year-old cub, Xiao Qi Ji, at the National Zoo in Washington last year (File photo/AP)

China is planning to send a pair of giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo in a gesture of friendship to the United States in continuation of its longstanding “Panda diplomacy” - after previously recalling all the pandas sent on loan due to soured relationships.

San Diego Zoo officials told the Associated Press that two Pandas, one male and one female, are set to arrive as early as the end of next summer, if all the requirements and permits go through.

The act of “Panda Diplomacy” is the practice of sending Giant Pandas by China to countries as a tool of diplomacy, and has been ongoing as early as 1941. Although since 1984, the Pandas have been leased rather than being gifted.

At the end of 2023, China recalled multiple Pandas it “leased” to the US, the UK, and Australia in which analysts described it as China's “way of signaling to the West that they are not happy.”

In a meeting last year between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the latter said that China could send new pandas as "envoys of friendship between the Chinese and American people."

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