China’s President Hints at More Pandas for the U.S.

by Madison Thomas
1 comment
Sino-American relations

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has indicated China’s intention to dispatch additional pandas to the United States, describing these animals as symbols of the Sino-American friendship.

During a dinner with business executives, Xi stated, “We aim to further our collaborative efforts with the United States in the area of panda preservation, striving to fulfill Californians’ expectations, thereby strengthening the amicable bonds between our nations.”

This announcement was made at the conclusion of a day marked by the first in-person meeting between Xi and U.S. President Joe Biden in over a year, where they vowed to work towards easing tensions. While Xi did not specify the timing or location for the arrival of these pandas, he hinted that California, potentially San Diego, would likely be their destination.

Pandas have historically symbolized friendship between the U.S. and China, starting when Beijing presented a pair to the National Zoo in Washington in 1972, preceding the normalization of diplomatic relations. Subsequently, Beijing has loaned pandas to various U.S. zoos, with profits aiding panda conservation initiatives.

With the recent return of the National Zoo’s three pandas, Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and their cub Xiao Qi Ji, to China, only four pandas remain in the U.S., residing at the Atlanta Zoo.

“I was informed that the departure of the pandas was met with reluctance, particularly from American youth, who visited the zoo to bid them farewell,” Xi mentioned in his address. He also acknowledged the eagerness of the San Diego Zoo and Californians to welcome pandas once more.

While in California for an Indo-Pacific leaders’ summit and his meeting with Biden, Xi did not discuss the panda topic in his public statements earlier in the day.

The souring of U.S.-China relations in recent years led to calls from Chinese citizens for the repatriation of the pandas, revered as a national symbol. Allegations of mistreatment by U.S. zoos, though unsubstantiated, gained traction on Chinese social media.

However, with Xi’s visit to San Francisco and meeting with Biden, where they agreed to cooperate on various fronts including anti-narcotics and military communication, signs of a thaw in relations emerged.

The National Zoo’s panda loan agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association was nearing its expiration in early December, with renewal negotiations remaining inconclusive.

Following the 2019 return of its pandas from the San Diego Zoo and the recent departure of the last panda from Memphis, Tennessee, the U.S. currently houses fewer pandas.

This report includes contributions from Ashraf Khalil in Washington.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Sino-American relations

Why is China sending more pandas to the United States?

China’s President Xi Jinping has expressed an intention to send more pandas to the U.S. as a gesture of friendship and to strengthen the bonds between the two countries. This move follows a tradition of panda diplomacy, which has been a symbol of Sino-American friendship since Beijing gifted a pair of pandas to the National Zoo in Washington in 1972.

What was the context of President Xi Jinping’s announcement about sending pandas?

The announcement came during Xi Jinping’s dinner speech with business leaders, following a day of meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden. The meetings were focused on reducing tensions and improving cooperation between China and the U.S. The specific details about when and where the pandas would be sent were not disclosed, but California, possibly San Diego, was suggested as a likely destination.

How do pandas symbolize U.S.-China relations?

Pandas have long been a symbol of friendship between the U.S. and China, dating back to 1972 when Beijing gifted a pair to the National Zoo in Washington. This gesture was ahead of the normalization of bilateral relations. Since then, pandas have been loaned to other U.S. zoos, with proceeds supporting conservation programs, symbolizing ongoing cooperation and goodwill.

What is the current status of pandas in U.S. zoos?

Following the recent return of three giant pandas from the National Zoo to China, only four pandas remain in the U.S., housed at the Atlanta Zoo. The San Diego Zoo returned its pandas in 2019, and the last panda at the Memphis, Tennessee, zoo returned to China earlier this year.

Did the recent U.S.-China tensions affect panda diplomacy?

Yes, the recent tensions in U.S.-China relations led to calls from the Chinese public for the return of giant pandas from U.S. zoos. Unproven allegations of mistreatment of pandas in the U.S. surfaced on Chinese social media. However, the recent visit of President Xi Jinping to the U.S. and his meeting with President Biden showed signs of stabilization in relations, which may positively influence future panda diplomacy.

More about Sino-American relations

You may also like

1 comment

SeriousNewsBuff November 17, 2023 - 12:47 am

Good to hear about the panda diplomacy, hope it helps with relationsship!


Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News