- “We are ready to continue our cooperation with the United States in panda conservation,” Xi said
- The US has just four panda bears after the Washington DC Zoo returned theirs
- The US and China also reached an agreement on fentanyl
Chinese President Xi Jinping has indicated that Beijing will soon send new pandas to the United States, making the statement after his daylong summit with President Joe Biden.
The pandas are perhaps the most visible outcome of the high-stakes meeting, though the White House also pointed to China’s agreement to crack down on fentanyl production and resume military-to-military communications.
Xi didn’t say where the pandas would end up — Washington DC’s National Zoo returned its pair to China last week — but it appears the new bears will end up in California, where Xi is attending a summit hosted by the governor of California’s Gavin Nieuwsom.
“We are ready to continue our cooperation with the United States in the field of panda conservation and do our best to meet the wishes of Californians so as to deepen the friendly ties between our two peoples,” said Xi during a dinner speech with the business community on Wednesday evening. leaders.
Chinese President Xi Jinping indicated he would send more pandas to the United States – above he walks with President Joe Biden
The US has just four pandas after the Washington DC bears (above) returned to China
Xi suggested the pandas would most likely come to California, likely to the San Diego Zoo, which previously housed bears.
“We obviously appreciated them being here,” White House spokesman John Kirby said of the pandas on Thursday morning.
“And we respect the sovereign decision that China has made to relocate some of the pandas, and should the decision of the People’s Republic of China to recover some of the pandas, we would welcome that.”
Pandas have become a symbol of diplomacy for China, which originally gifted two bears to the United States in 1972, prior to the normalization of relations.
Beijing continued to lend properties to the United States and other countries, but the bears are on a strict leasing program and eventually return to China.
The National Zoo’s three giant pandas, Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and their cub Xiao Qi Ji, began their long journey to China eight days ago. After their departure, only four pandas remain in the United States, at the Atlanta Zoo.
“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 in his speech. He added that he had gotten to know the San Diego Zoo and that the people of California are “really looking forward to welcoming pandas back.”
The Chinese leader addressed business leaders after his four-hour meeting with Biden on the outskirts of San Francisco.
The bears are loaded into specially designed crates for the 19-hour journey by van and plane to Chengdu, China
Although some tensions remain, especially over Taiwan, Washington and Beijing have managed to reopen relations that had become strained over the past year, especially after a Chinese spy balloon hovered over the United States and was eventually shot down by US forces.
“We are back to direct, open, clear direct communication on a direct basis,” Biden said after the meeting.
But Biden also later said he had not changed his view that Xi is a dictator.
“Well, look, that’s him. I mean, he is a dictator in the sense that he is a man who runs a country that is a communist country,” Biden said.
But Biden and Xi agreed that China would block exports of products linked to the production of the opioid fentanyl, a leading cause of death in the United States.
“It’s going to save lives,” Biden said, adding that he appreciated Xi’s “commitment” on the issue.