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Panda diplomacy charms Berlin

By AN BAIJIE in Berlin | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-07-07 23:55

Panda diplomacy charms Berlin

Jiao Qing, one of the two pandas that recently arrived in Berlin, makes himself comfortable during the visit of the two national leaders. [Photo/Agencies]

President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that he hoped the two pandas, Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, will soon raise a family and bring luck and pleasure to the people of Berlin.

Xi made the remarks while attending a ceremony to unveil the panda garden at Berlin's zoo during his state visit to Germany.

Calling the two pandas ambassadors of friendship, Xi said the two countries' cooperation on panda protection has great significance as they celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

Germany and China started cooperation on panda research in the 1980s. The last panda Berlin had was Bao Bao, which was sent to Berlin in 1980. It died in 2012.

According to the president, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended the G20 summit held in Hangzhou last year, she invited Xi to attend the G20 Hamburg summit this year and asked him to bring a pair of pandas.

"I made a positive response (to Merkel's invitation)," Xi said, adding that he was delighted to see that the two pandas are enjoying their lives in Berlin.

Describing pandas as "a very special part of China", Merkel said people in Germany are delighted to welcome them.

Meng Meng and Jiao Qing arrived last month and are getting accustomed to their new environment quite quickly, according to Yin Hong, a Chinese panda keeper who accompanied the pair from the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu in Sichuan province.

Meng Meng, which means "sweet dream" in Chinese, is a 4-year-old female panda, while Jiao Qing, meaning "darling", is a 7-year-old male. They were presented to Germany as part of a 15-year conservation and breeding program.

"We are delighted that Berlin has gained another fantastic attraction," said Berlin's mayor Michael Muller.


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