Harper wraps up China visit with panda pact

by The China Watch on February 13, 2012

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper pets a panda with his wife Laureen at a zoo in Chongqing Feb 11, 2012. Harper announced two giant pandas, Er Shun and Ji Li, will spend 10 years in two Canadian zoos. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING – Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrapped up a visit to China by announcing Saturday that Beijing will loan two of giant pandas to Canadian zoos. The pandas are the first to travel to Canada in more than two decades.

Harper visited a zoo in Southwest China’s Chongqing municipality to say that the Chinese government is loaning the panda pair to Canada for the next 10 years, Harper’s press secretary Carl Vallee said.

News photos showed Harper looking on as his wife carried a squirming baby panda.

The pandas are expected to arrive in Canada early next year and will go to the Toronto and Calgary zoos for five years each.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks at a panda being held by his wife Laureen at a zoo in Chongqing Feb 11, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks at a panda being held by his wife Laureen at a zoo in Chongqing Feb 11, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

Giant panda Er Shun is pictured at the zoo in Chongqing Feb 11, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

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