BEIJING, June 4. /TASS/. The Chinese government’s move to present two giant pandas to Russia will help create a friendly and festive atmosphere during the celebrations dedicated to the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said at a briefing on Tuesday.
"On April 29, Ru Yi and Ding Ding left their native province of Sichuan for a 15-year stay in Russia," he said. "They have comfortably settled at the Moscow Zoo. This joint program will allow China and Russia to enhance their expertise in protecting endangered species and biodiversity conservation," the Chinese diplomat added.
According to him, "the panda pair is a powerful symbol of friendship between the two nations." "We wish Ru Yi and Ding Ding good health and happiness in their new home. We are confident they will bring much joy to Russians, becoming a true bridge of friendship and creating a festive atmosphere during the celebrations dedicated to the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Russia," Geng Shuang emphasized.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Russia on June 5-7 to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). While in Russia, he will be awarded an honorary doctorate by St. Petersburg State University and inaugurate a Panda Pavilion at the Moscow Zoo.
The giant panda, a rare animal listed in the IUCN Red List, is China’s unofficial symbol. As of late 2013, a total of 1,864 giant pandas lived in the wild in China. They mostly inhabit the mountainous forests of Sichuan, feeding on bamboo shoots that grow there in abundance.