OK, everyone, let’s act cool. It’s not set in stone yet, but…
After meeting with President Joe Biden in California, Chinese President Xi Jinping hinted that he could send new pandas to the U.S.
Xi spiced things up during a business dinner speech Wednesday, labeling the fluffy diplomacy “envoys of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples.”
“We are ready to continue our cooperation with the United States on panda conservation and do our best to meet the wishes of the Californians so as to deepen the friendly ties between our two peoples,” Xi said.
The news comes as the nation said farewell to the three giant pandas at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, leaving just four of these bears in the entire U.S., all residing at the Atlanta Zoo.
While Xi did not provide a date for when we could possibly get more pandas, he did hint that California may be the lucky state.
“I was told that many American people, especially children, were really reluctant to say goodbye to the pandas and went to the zoo to see them off,” Xi said. “I also learned that the San Diego Zoo and the Californians very much look forward to welcoming pandas back.”
Xi didn’t say how many pandas we’ll get, but we do know that panda loans usually cost a lot of money, often around $1 million per year for each pair, with most zoos signing 10-year contracts.
Some zoos even pay a $400,000 one-time fee for a U.S.-born panda cub, with the agreement to send them back a few years after being born.
The announcement came after Xi met with President Biden at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, aimed at easing concerns about potential conflict between the world’s two largest economies. The four-hour meeting marked the first between the two leaders in a year.