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Adelaide Zoo Reveals New Panda Exchange Program

The popular giant panda duo Wang Wang and Fu Ni at Adelaide Zoo will be leaving Australia at the end of 2024 and will be replaced by a new pair.

The beloved giant pandas at Adelaide Zoo are set to return to China at the end of 2024, but Australia will not be left without pandas.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese joined Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Premier Li Qiang at Adelaide Zoo on June 16 to visit the two giant pandas named Wang Wang and Fu Ni, who are on loan from China.

Mr. Li announced at the zoo that Wang Wang and Fu Ni will return to China in November, and Adelaide Zoo will receive another pair of pandas.

Australia received the current duo in 2009 for a 10-year loan, but a deal was struck to grant the pair another five years in Australia.

The two were meant to be a breeding pair but were unable to procreate despite several natural mating and artificial insemination efforts during their stay.

Premier Visit

Mr. Li landed in Adelaide on June 15, the first CCP premier to visit Australia since 2017.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas greeted Mr. Li at Adelaide Airport.

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Mr. Li said at the airport that Australia can connect the West and East and is an important force of economic globalization, and that a more mature partnership would benefit both countries.

Meanwhile, Ms. Wong said the visit was very important and a reflection of the Albanese government’s efforts on the bilateral relationship over the last two years.

“We are better if we engage to deal with those differences… to navigate that relationship,” she told ABC Insiders on June 16.

The four-day visit follows a period of diplomatic unrest between Australia and China.

In 2020, Beijing imposed trade restrictions on Australian agricultural and mineral products during a diplomatic dispute, suspending $20.6 billion (US$13.6 billion) worth of Australian exports.

The trade restrictions were imposed following Australia’s call for an international inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia also restricted recent Chinese investment in critical minerals on national interest grounds.

Beijing has considerably dropped trade restrictions on Australian imports, but $1 billion dollars of restrictions remain.

Mr. Li will meet with Australian wine exporters who were shut out of the Chinese market until recently. He is then set to tour Canberra and Perth.

Holding Beijing Accountable

For example, the imprisonment of Australian writer Yang Hengjun who received a suspended death sentence in February and Hong Kong authorities targeting Australian residents.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government would not avoid confronting the CCP on important issues, reported AAP.

“We’ve made it clear on earlier occasions that we are prepared to speak up for those values and interests when that’s appropriate,” he said.

Mr. Chalmers said that although it’s sometimes a difficult relationship to manage, the government believes that meaningful engagement with Beijing will benefit the Australian people.

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