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China to send two giant pandas to Japan for a 10-year stay

July 29, 2010 |  6:41 pm


BEIJING — China has announced plans to send two of its prized giant pandas to Japan, the latest installment of panda diplomacy aimed at warming the two countries' often-strained relations.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday that China will send Bi Li and Xian Nu, both 5-year-olds from China's Wolong Nature Reserve, to Japan early next year for a 10-year stay at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo.

The giant panda is unique to China and is regularly sent abroad as a sign of warm diplomatic relations or to mark breakthroughs in ties. For more than five decades, Beijing has used panda diplomacy to make friends and influence people in countries including the United States and the former Soviet Union.

China announces plans to train captive giant pandas for life in the wild
Giant pandas Tai Shan, Mei Lan head for China from the American zoos where they were born

-- Associated Press

Photo: Nine giant pandas are given a party at the Shanghai World Expo on July 6. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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