In a recent speech to China’s National People’s Congress, President Xi Jinping suggested that the U.S. may receive more pandas in the future. “As promised, China often sends pandas to overseas partners to carry out diplomatic missions, and it will continue this tradition in the future,” he said.
Since his election in 2013, President Xi Jinping has increased the number of pandas given to foreign countries as part of the “Panda Diplomacy” initiative. Under this program, China sends pandas bred in captivity to countries that have strong diplomatic ties with China. The practice dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), when Chinese emperors first sent gifted pandas to other countries as symbols of friendship.
Recently, President Xi Jinping has sent pandas to countries such as France, Scotland, Finland, and the United States. The pandas sent to the U.S. have lived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., the San Diego Zoo in California, and the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee.
In his speech, Xi Jinping said the panda diplomatic program will be used to “strengthen friendship between China and other countries, increase mutual trust, promote mutual respect, and push forward bilateral relations.” According to experts, this could mean that often times, the purpose of panda diplomacy is not just symbolic, but actually serves as a tangible reminder of a strong bond between two countries.
It is also likely that President Xi Jinping will continue to use panda diplomacy and even increase the number of pandas sent to the U.S. and other countries in the future. This is important for maintaining positive diplomatic relations and strengthening the bond between the two countries.