Animals can ease many kinds of tension, including strained diplomatic relations between two countries. This is particularly true when it comes to giant pandas.
Shin Shin, a giant panda loaned by China to Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo could become a great peace ambassador, as she might be pregnant, the international press comments.
Shin Shin was removed recently from public view, as she shows signs of pregnancy: she sleeps more, eats less and shows higher hormone levels. However, Shin’s male partner, Ri Ri, can still be seen by the zoo’s visitors.
The panda couple was borrowed by Japan from the Chinese authorities back in February 2011, when diplomatic relations were stronger.
Giant pandas have been enormously popular in Japan since they began serving as adorable diplomats in 1972, the international press comments. In 1972, China gave Japan two 2-year-old giant pandas – one female and one male, as a present to observe the normalisation of their diplomatic relations.
Shin Shin’s possible pregnancy was saluted by both countries. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said he hopes the panda will grow healthy, while Japan’s chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said: “If it is true, it would be very welcome. I hope it is so.”