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China agrees to send a pair of giant pandas to Australia, known as “Panda Diplomacy”

2024.06.23 06:58:00 Doyeon Kim

[A photo shows a Giant Panda in China, Photo Credit to Pixabay]

On June 16th, 2024, Premier Li Qiang of China announced that they would provide a new pair of giant pandas to Australia as a way of “panda diplomacy” between the two countries.


Li made a visit to Southern California and made this announcement at Adelaide Zoo where he made a four-day trip to Australia.


His trip to Australia , the first of seven years, signals a significant improvement in their bilateral relations.


In the past, there has been a minor tension between Australia and China as Beijing has lifted the high tariffs on Australian wines while he reduced the barriers on Australian barley, timber, and coal.


These tariffs were imposed as a response to the actions taken by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he inquired about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China.


Morrison’s inquisition led Beijing to resort to retaliatory measures, increasing the tension between the two countries.


However, China is known to be one of the largest trading partners for Australia as it accounts for one-third of Australian exports.


At the same time, China needed commodities from Australia in order for Beijing to revive its economy.


As a result, Premier Li Qiang has shook hands with Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong as a sign of promise to send a new pair to Australia.


There was the current pair of giant pandas returning to China at the end of 2024; thus, he decided to send a new pair of pandas to the country.


In fact, China currently loans pandas to more than 20 countries around the world as a way of showing their friendship.


Loaning pandas to another country is seen as a symbol of goodwill and diplomacy, as well as an emblem of friendship between two countries.


In another way, having pandas present in China also shows the relationship between that country and China.


This Panda Diplomacy dates back as far as the Tang Dynasty, between 618 to 907 CE when pandas were sent as diplomatic gifts.


Additionally, in 1941, two pandas were sent to the US as a way to thank the US for “alleviating the suffering of our people and binding our wounds”.


In November 2009, two Giant pandas, Wang Wang and Fu Ni were sent to Adelaide Zoo in Australia.


In 2019, another deal was made to extend the stay of Wang Wang and Fu Ni for an additional five years.


Li claimed that Wang Wang and Fu Ni looked very great and healthy despite the extensive distance from their homeland.


They look truly happy in Australia that their stay in Australia can be further extended.


As Wang Wang and Fu Ni return back to their home country, the new pair will go to Australia as a way of showing the profound relationship between the two countries.


Furthermore, there has been a case with the US and China where Premier Zhou Enlai also sent pandas to the United States as a gift.


There have been agreements with the San Diego Zoo in the US as a form of international cooperation in protecting the giant pandas.


It shows that San Diego will receive descendants of their past pandas Bi Yung and Gao Gao.


Moreover, there have also been agreements with the Madrid Zoo in Spain.


China further wishes to expand its international cooperation through their “panda diplomacy”.

Doyeon Kim / Grade 11
Cornerstone Collegiate Academy of Seoul