Panda Diplomacy: China’s Goodwill Gift to Taiwan

China has delivered on its promise to give a pair of giant pandas — a goodwill gift — to . From Reuters:

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, whose names said together mean “unite”, will be flown to Taiwan on Tuesday with steamed corn buns and fresh bamboo in their luggage and a standby supply of air-sickness pills.

China had offered the pandas as a goodwill gift in 2006 as part of a charm offensive after decades of sabre rattling. Taiwan’s then anti-China president declined the gift.

At weekend talks held in Shanghai, China and Taiwan also proposed that that an accord be signed in 2009 strengthening cross strait economic ties. From Bloomberg:

The sides agreed to create a supervisory mechanism that would effectively allow Taiwan banks including First Commercial Bank Co., Hua Nan Commercial Bank Ltd. and five others to upgrade representative offices in China to branches. Taiwan will let Chinese companies bid for construction contracts on the island.

Wang Yi, the top Chinese official responsible for relations with Taiwan, proposed another 10 incentives, including 130 billion yuan ($19 billion) of loans for Taiwan companies operating on the mainland, and purchases worth $2 billion of flat-panel displays from the island’s companies.

“The measures are really helpful,” said Norman Yin, a banking professor at the National Chengchi University in Taipei, who attended the Shanghai forum. “Once Taiwanese banks upgrade their China representative offices, they can cooperate with mainland banks to provide financing to Taiwanese businesses in China.”

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