Thursday, July 18, 2024

Learn More about WPBS Passport! Click Here

HomeVideoWATCH: Pandas are leaving the U.S. What does this mean for panda...

WATCH: Pandas are leaving the U.S. What does this mean for panda diplomacy?

After over 50 years of being Washington’s cutest attraction, the Giant Pandas of the Smithsonian National Zoo are returning to China. The animals have served as a long-standing symbol of soft diplomacy between the two nations. The first generation of bears were gifted to the states in 1972, following then-President Nixon’s historic visit to China in effort to open relations with the country. Since then, subsequent generations of pandas have been on loan from China.

However, as the current contract ends, the Smithsonian is on track to return zoo residents Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and Xiao Qi Ji, by mid-November. Little is known as to why the animals’ lease was not renewed. Many speculate that the seeming end of so-called “panda diplomacy” coincides with increasing tensions between the U.S and China.

Politico’s Michael Shaffer joins the PBS NewsHour’s Ali Rogin to break down how the National Zoo’s star attractions came to the U.S. and what their return could represent.

Stream your PBS favorites with the PBS app:
Find more from PBS NewsHour at
Subscribe to our YouTube channel:

Follow us:

PBS NewsHour podcasts: