Panda diplomacy has long been an important diplomatic tool that China has used to foster closer relationships with other nations. Although most pandas are temporary visitors who stay in the receiving countries for a few years at a time, Chinese President Xi Jinping hinted recently that the long-term use of pandas as ambassadors might become a recurring part of U.S.-China relations.
At a news conference in Beijing in March 2021, Xinhua news agency reported that Xi had said that China was “willing to strengthen cooperation on giant panda research with the U.S.A., and send more pandas there for research and protection.”
This statement was well-received by many in the United States, including some top officials. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that he hoped the two countries could make “positive use of the pandas as an example of how we can work together for the good of all.”
It is possible that the United States could receive another panda or two in the future. On the surface, this might appear to be just a trivial exchange between two countries, but in reality, it could be an important demonstration of cultural understanding and diplomatic trust between the two nations. As such, Xi’s hint of potential panda diplomacy for the United States could certainly be a sign of hope for the future of U.S.-China relations.