China will return giant pandas to American zoos and is ready to continue cooperation with the United States to preserve these animals. This was stated by Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a visit to San Francisco.
“Pandas have long been ambassadors of friendship between the Chinese and American people,” Xi Jinping said at the ATER summit (quoted by Bloomberg). He stressed that this will strengthen friendly ties between states.
Foreign countries can rent pandas from China for a period of ten years. China uses this tool to establish diplomatic relations. At the end of the rental period, if the contract has not been renewed, the animals must be returned to China.
Today, November 16, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the ATER summit in San Francisco. The parties discussed the resumption of military cooperation and steps to strengthen diplomatic relations. At the meeting, China reaffirmed its intention to unite with Taiwan and called on the United States not to interfere in the matter. After the meeting, Joe Biden publicly stated that he still considers Mr. Xi a dictator.
On November 8, three pandas from the Washington Zoo were returned to China. In April, a panda from the Memphis Zoo returned home. At the moment, the only pandas left in the United States are the Atlanta Zoo, but by the end of 2024 they should return to China. Chinese authorities have not explained why they refused to renew the giant panda lease agreement with the United States.
Read more about the return of pandas to China in the Kommersant FM article “Pandas Diplomatically Return Home.”