China Sends its 'Panda Diplomacy' to Israel

China set to send giant pandas to Haifa Zoo in a meaningful gesture used by the Asian superpower to seal ties with allies.

Ari Yashar,

Panda bear eating bamboo
Panda bear eating bamboo
Thinkstock

The latest proof of a solidifying alliance between Israel and China is an ancient tradition know as "panda diplomacy" - China is poised to send two giant panda bears to the Haifa Educational Zoo following a twin-city agreement between Haifa and Chendu signed last week.

In the agreement, Haifa Municipality Director-General Shmuel Gantz and Prof. Fei Lisong of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding discussed bringing two of the bears to Israel for the first time, reports Israel Hayom.

Haifa zoo staff will fly to Chengdu to learn about how to care for the iconic Chinese animals who live mostly on a bamboo diet, and will construct a special compound designed to accommodate the bears.

China has a long history of sending pandas to solidify foreign relations, with the first case said to have occurred in 685 CE when Empress Wu Zetian sent pandas to Japan. The practice was restored in 1941 when Madame Chiang Kai-shek sent a pair of pandas to the US in a show of appreciation for American aid.

Lisong's delegation arrived in Haifa after the third annual China-Israel High-Tech Investments Summit was held last month, which was attended by over 200 Chinese officials and businessmen and their Israeli counterparts.

An Israeli delegation was in China last week to initiate a "water city project" in Shaoguan, located in the Guangdong Province, and to encourage Israeli businesses trying to enter the Chinese market.




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