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Panda diplomacy from China

This is Yuan Zai - standing on the left - and his partner Huan Huan. The pair of giant pandas are about to be transferred from China to a zoo in France. But before their departure, officials held an elaborate ceremony at a Chengdu research centre to bid them adieu. SOUNDBITE (Mandarin) ZHENG KUNSHENG, DIRECTOR OF CHINESE ASSOCIATION OF ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS: "I hope that the giant pandas Yuan Zai and Huan Huan can quickly adjust to their new environment, grow up healthy and enjoy heartily their lives in a foreign land." Since the 1950s, China has given away the bears as gestures of good will in what has come to be known as "panda diplomacy". After the ceremony, the three-year-old bears were loaded into a special crate for the long journey to France. They are headed for the Beauval Zoo in Saint Aignan, where officials are hoping the two will breed. Andrew Raven, Reuters

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