The last giant panda at Tokyo’s main zoo has died, raising the question of whether Chinese President Hu Jintao might engage in some panda diplomacy when he visits next week.
Ling Ling, a 22-year-old male giant panda popular among zoo visitors, died overnight at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, an official at the zoo said on Wednesday.
An official at Japan’s foreign ministry said possible panda loans from China had been raised previously through diplomatic channels, as Ling Ling aged.
But she added that the issue had so far not been included in topics for discussion during the visit by Hu, the first visit to Japan by a Chinese president in 10 years.
Read also China’s Panda Diplomacy from Time.