Pandas could return to US, according to China’s president

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Chinese President Xi Jinping says China will send new pandas to the United States. President Xi made the announcement during a speech with business leaders on Wednesday night following his face-to-face meeting with President Joe Biden in California.

“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.

President Xi did not say exactly when or where in the U.S. pandas would be sent, but appeared to hint that the next pair of pandas could come to California.

The announcement comes just over a week after three giant pandas were sent from Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo back to China. Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and their cub Xiao Qi Ji were loaded onto a Boeing 777, dubbed the FedEx “Panda Express,” at Dulles International Airport on November 8.

Iconic giant pandas have been living at the National Zoo for more than 50 years dating back to President Richard Nixon’s term in office. Beijing gifted a pair of pandas to the National Zoo in 1972, which many have seen as a symbol of friendship between the U.S. and China over the years.

Right now, there are only four pandas left in the United States, which are currently located at the Atlanta Zoo. They are scheduled to leave the Atlanta Zoo early next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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