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Panda Diplomacy

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in January. The names are a play on the Chinese word tuanyuan, or “reunion.” (Niu Yixin AP/Xinhua)
China will present the pandas to Taiwan as a goodwill gift, but Taiwan’s government has not said whether it will accept. (Chen Xie AP/Xinhua)
Chinese panda diplomacy dates at least as far back as the Tang Dynasty, when Empress Wu Zetian (624-705) gave a pair to Japan’s emperor as a gesture of friendship. (AP/Xinhua)
“Pandas are cute,” said lawmaker Huang Shi-cho of Taiwan, “but they are meant to destroy Taiwan’s psychological defenses.” (Chen Xie AP/Xinhua)