Panda couple to remain in DC amid talks with China

BRETT ZONGKER - Associated Press
FILE - In this April 24, 2007 file photo, male giant panda Tian Tian, left, and female giant panda Mei Xiang play in their enclosure at the National Zoo in Washington. Washington's pandas will stay at the National Zoo at least a little while longer. Zoo spokeswoman Karin Korpowski-Gallo said Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 that China has granted a temporary extension for Mei Xiang and Tian Tian to remain until a new agreement is signed. Officials expect one in January.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
FILE - In this April 24, 2007 file photo, male giant panda Tian Tian, left, and female giant panda Mei Xiang play in their enclosure at the National Zoo in Washington. Washington's pandas will stay at the National Zoo at least a little while longer. Zoo spokeswoman Karin Korpowski-Gallo said Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 that China has granted a temporary extension for Mei Xiang and Tian Tian to remain until a new agreement is signed. Officials expect one in January.

Washington's pandas will stay at the National Zoo at least a little while longer.

Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are on a 10-year, $10 million loan from China that expires at the end of 2010. The Smithsonian's National Zoo continues to negotiate a new agreement for panda breeding and research.

Zoo spokeswoman Karin Korpowski-Gallo said Wednesday that China has granted a temporary extension for Mei Xiang and Tian Tian to remain until a new agreement is signed. Officials expect one in January.

Pandas have a long history in Washington. The first panda couple, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing (sing-sing), arrived in 1972 and lived more than 20 years at the zoo after President Richard Nixon's historic visit to China.