China to Give Korea a Panda Couple

A couple of pandas will be sent to Korea after Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Seoul on Thursday and Friday.

Beijing often sends the endangered animals to foreign countries as gifts aimed at cementing relations.

In a joint press conference following talks with Xi, President Park Geun-hye said, "The pandas will be loved by the Korean people as a symbol of the bilateral friendship, along with the crested ibises that arrived here last year."

According to internal Chinese regulations, the pandas will be presented to Korea as a loan. They will likely arrive here late next year due to the complicated customs procedure.

China presented pandas to Korea before. It loaned out a couple of pandas, named Mingming and Lili, to Korea on the second anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1994. But Korea sent them back to China during the financial crisis in 1998 due to the exorbitant upkeep cost.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 04, 2014 11:52 KST