Taiwan accepts pandas from China

China first offered Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan in 2006 as a gesture of goodwill to push its unification agenda in Taiwan, which Bejing considers its territory.

Taiwan accepts pandas from China
Taiwan has agreed to receive a pair of giant pandas from China, an official said on Friday, in another sign of warming relations following the change of government in the self-ruled island.

The Taipei city zoo has been cleared to host the bears, whose names said together mean "unite", the island's forestry department said in a statement on its website

China first offered Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan in 2006 as a gesture of goodwill to push its unification agenda in Taiwan, which Bejing considers its territory.

But former President Chen Shui-bian, who wanted more distance, rejected the bears. His successor, Ma Ying-jeou, has said he welcomes them since taking office on May 20 on a pro-China platform.

"This is very positive news," said Lee Tao-sheng, deputy director general with the Taiwan Forestry Bureau. "Our survey showed that over half the population wants to see the pandas."

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949, and Beijing has threatened to use force if the island formally declares statehood.

Taipei's city zoo has spent T$200 million ($6.40 million) on equipment and a 765-square-metre panda facility. Its medical facilities and staff training have passed the forestry bureau's checks, Lee said.

Reuters
Last Mod: 15 Ağustos 2008, 09:57
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