China Dispatches Furry Ambassadors to Taiwan

Bears names—Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan—spell "reunification"
By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User
Posted Dec 22, 2008 1:20 PM CST
Taiwanese people take pictures by a panda model during a test of a new house for two pandas, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, in Taipei City Zoo.   (AP Photo/ Chiang Ying-yinig)
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(Newser) – China is sending a pair of pandas to Taiwan today, a peace offering that’s been in the making for 4 years, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The nations, not known for being warm or cuddly toward each other, appear to be making amends. Last week, after a 60-year stalemate, Taiwan and China re-established direct airline flights, allowing for the bears’ delivery.

China also pledged some $19 billion to Taiwanese firms doing business on the mainland in the near future. Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has pursued “truce diplomacy” between the estranged nations since his party regained power in March. The 4-year-old pandas, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, are scheduled to go on display at the Taipei Zoo in time for Chinese New Year.