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Black and white diplomacy

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Black and white diplomacy

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In a sign of increasingly close relations, China has sent two giant pandas as a goodwill gift to Taiwan. Beijing has often used pandas as a diplomatic tool, and the two special envoys got a big send-off as they left for their journey to Taipei.

In preparation for their trip, the two pandas were given steamed buns and fresh bamboo, with travel sickness pills on hand just in case. Arriving in Taipei, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, which together means ‘unite’ in Chinese, headed for the city’s main zoo, where as as many as 30,000 visitors a day are expected to visit them. But not everyone is happy about their arrival. Some claim the bears are an attempt by Beijing to re-assert their territorial claim to Taiwan. As for the pandas themselves, they’re lucky to be alive after their previous home was damaged in China’s massive earthquake earlier this year.