SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Chinese language President Xi Jinping signaled late Wednesday that China will ship new pandas to the US, calling them “envoys of friendship between the Chinese language and American peoples.”
“We’re able to proceed our cooperation with the US on panda conservation, and do our greatest to fulfill the desires of the Californians in order to deepen the pleasant ties between our two peoples,” Xi stated throughout a dinner speech with enterprise leaders.
The gesture got here on the finish of a day by which Xi and President Joe Biden held their first nose to nose assembly in a yr and pledged to attempt to cut back tensions. Xi didn’t share extra particulars on when or the place pandas could be supplied however appeared to recommend the following pair of pandas are almost certainly to come back to California, in all probability San Diego.
The bears have lengthy been the image of the U.S.-China friendship since Beijing gifted a pair of pandas to the Nationwide Zoo in Washington in 1972, forward of the normalization of bilateral relations. Later, Beijing loaned the pandas to different U.S. zoos, with proceeds going again to panda conservation packages.
The Nationwide Zoo’s three large pandas, Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and their cub Xiao Qi Ji, eight days in the past started their lengthy journey to China. After their departure, solely 4 pandas are left in the US, within the Atlanta Zoo.
“I used to be informed that many American individuals, particularly youngsters, have been actually reluctant to say goodbye to the pandas, and went to the zoo to see them off,” Xi stated in his speech. He added that he discovered the San Diego Zoo and other people in California “very a lot look ahead to welcoming pandas again.”
Xi is in California to attend a summit of Indo-Pacific leaders and for his assembly with Biden. He made no point out of the pandas throughout his public remarks earlier within the day as he met with Biden.
When bilateral relations started to bitter up to now few years, members of the Chinese language public began to demand the return of large pandas. Unproven allegations that U.S. zoos mistreated the pandas, often called China’s “nationwide treasure,” flooded China’s social media.
However relations confirmed indicators of stabilization as Xi traveled to San Francisco to fulfill with Biden. The 2 males met for about 4 hours Wednesday on the picturesque Filoli Historic Home & Backyard, the place they agreed to cooperate on anti-narcotics, resume high-level army communications and broaden people-to-people exchanges.
The Nationwide Zoo’s change settlement with the China Wildlife Conservation Affiliation had been set to run out in early December and negotiations to resume or lengthen the deal didn’t produce outcomes.
The San Diego Zoo returned its pandas in 2019, and the final bear on the Memphis, Tennessee, zoo went house earlier this yr.
Related Press author Ashraf Khalil in Washington contributed to this report.
Didi Tang, The Related Press