China is to offer a pair of giant pandas to Japan for joint research.
Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao made the announcement Tuesday at a dinner hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.
After Fukuda expressed Japanese people's love of giant pandas, Hu said that China understood the aspiration of the Japanese people and noticed the attention paid by Prime Minister Fukuda to the matter.
Fukuda has expressed the hope that China would lease pandas to Japan for joint research. His comments came a day after the death on April 30 of Ling Ling, a giant panda sent to Tokyo's Ueno Zoo in 1992, in exchange for a Japanese-born panda cub.
The exchange commemorated the 20th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral relations.
Ling Ling, born in the Beijing Zoo in 1985, died at the age of 22 -- the equivalent of 70 in human years. With the death of Ling Ling, Japan currently has eight giant pandas, all on loan from China.
China donated Lan Lan and Kang Kang as the first pair of giant pandas to Japan to commemorate the normalization of bilateral ties in 1972.
During the dinner, the two leaders also had friendly talks on people-to-people friendship and the expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
They agreed that the enhancement of good neighborly friendship was in the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples and conducive to peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world at large.
Fukuda wished the Beijing Olympic Games and the World Expo, due to be held in Shanghai, a great success.
Hu was here for a five-day state visit, a trip paid by the Chinese head of state to Japan in a decade, at the invitation of the Japanese government.
(Xinhua News Agency May 7, 2008)