From Independent Online (link):
Taiwan rejected China’s offer of two giant pandas Friday, fuelling speculation that President Chen Shui-bian feared accepting the animals would weaken Taiwanese vigilance against China’s ambition to reign over the island.
The Council of Agriculture’s panda evaluation committee made the ruling after its third meeting on Friday.
“Our conclusion is that the two parks that applied to receive the two pandas are not fully prepared and the pandas cannot adapt to the environment in Taiwan,” Lee Tao-sheng, head of the evaluation committee, told a news conference.
“We believe that if the two parks’ purpose of receiving the pandas is for research, it is best to keep the pandas in the wild in China and carry out the research,” he said.
Lee said there was no political influence on the committee’s decision to bar the pandas from coming to Taiwan.