Thursday, June 13, 2024

China is sending two pandas to the Washington Zoo

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The bear sleeps in his cozy den. Panda Mei Ziang sleeps in her indoor enclosure at the National Zoo in Washington in 2015. Last year she had to return home to China. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 29.05.2024 15:13:02

Curiosities and celebrities: In November, the zoo had to send its three pandas back to China, as the loan agreements for them expired and were not renewed. In the same period, there was a very bad atmosphere between the USA and China. However, when the respective presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping met in the same month, the latter opened the door to sending more panda bears to the United States.

Now the National Zoo in the US capital confirms that the pandas Bao Li and Qing Bao will get a new home in Washington during the year.

So-called “panda diplomacy” is a way for China to acquire soft power in the world. The large but cuddly bears are very popular attractions in zoos around the world and are sent as signs of goodwill. Formally speaking, however, they are on loan from China and can thus be brought home if the loan agreement expires.

Wednesday’s announcement is a clear sign that China is satisfied that relations with the United States have stabilized.

China sent two giant pandas to the United States for the first time in 1972, after then-President Richard Nixon had visited the country. Chinese authorities have also opened the way for other American zoos to have the animals sent to them.

(© NTB)

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