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China to send more giant pandas to the U.S.

For years, China has permitted facilities abroad to house giant pandas as a means of fostering good will with other nations.

Published: February 22, 2024 9:07pm

The Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association has arranged to send additional giant pandas to the United States and other nations, marking a renewal of the so-called "panda diplomacy" that has persisted through an increasingly tense period in Sino-American relations.

For years, China has permitted facilities abroad to house giant pandas as a means of fostering good will with other nations.

"Relevant Chinese institutions have signed agreements with the Madrid Zoo in Spain and the San Diego Zoo in the United States on a new round of international cooperation in the protection of giant pandas," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning stated Thursday, per Reuters. "They are also working with the Washington National Zoo in the United States and (Vienna Zoo) in Austria to actively negotiate and launch a new round of cooperation."

Last November, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, and cub Xiao Qi Ji, left the Smithsonian National Zoo, rendering pandas at the Atlanta zoo the last giant pandas in the U.S. Those pandas are slated to return to China this year. Mao further indicated that the facility was in negotiations to receive new pandas. The elder pandas had resided in Washington since 2000. Prior to their department, the National Zoo held a "Panda Palooza" send off event.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, following their departure, hinted that China could send more pandas to the U.S.

"I was told that many American people, especially children, were really reluctant to say goodbye to the pandas, and went to the zoo to see them off. I also learned that the San Diego Zoo and the Californians very much look forward to welcoming pandas back," he said during a visit to San Francisco. "Pandas have long been envoys of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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