Chinese President Xi Jinping suggested that there may be a possibility that the United States would be receiving more pandas.
During a dinner on Wednesday with business leaders such as Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple; Stanley Deal, the CEO of Boeing; and Nicholas Burns, the U.S. Ambassador to China, Xi hinted that China may be sending new pandas to the U.S., according to the Associated Press. Xi’s remarks came as he and President Joe Biden met for the first time in a year.
In early November, Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and their 3-year-old son, Xiao Qi Ji, the three pandas who had been living at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., departed back to China.
“We are ready to continue our cooperation with the United States on panda conservation and do our best to meet the wishes of the Californians so as to deepen the friendly ties between our two peoples,” Xi said.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping suggested that his country may lend more giant pandas to U.S. zoos in the future. https://t.co/mD57bit0D5
— Axios (@axios) November 16, 2023
“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,” Xi said, hinting that the next pandas may come to California.
The two adult pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian arrived in the United States on Dec. 6, 2000, as part of an agreement between the National Zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation. Their stay had been renewed three times.
Xi added in his speech that the San Diego Zoo and the residents of California “very much look forward to welcoming pandas back.”
The San Diego Zoo said goodbye to its pandas, Bai Yun, and her 6-year-old son, Xiao Liwu, in 2019 when they returned to China.
Pandas have been a years-long symbol of friendship between the U.S. and China, even as tensions have risen between the two countries. After the first pandas, Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling arrived in the U.S. on April 16, 1972, other zoos in the nation received pandas.
Four pandas currently remain at the Atlanta Zoo until they are set to return to China in late 2024, according to the Atlanta Zoo website.
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