There’s no doubt that giant pandas are among China’s best known ambassadors to the U.S.
And, the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. has witnessed many high points in China-U.S. relations.
As President Xi Jinping prepares to visit the U.S., the zoo’s panda lovers have been expressing their wishes for good relations between the two countries.
CGTN’s Frances Kuo reports.
Panda lovers hope diplomacy hope good U.S.-China relations will prevailAs President Xi Jinping prepares to visit the U.S., panda lovers have been expressing their wishes for good relations between the two countries. CGTN’s Frances Kuo reports
Nicole MacCorkle has been a giant panda keeper at the Smithsonian National Zoo since 2001. She’s been to China three times to work with her Chinese colleagues in the China-U.S. joint panda research program.
“I don’t speak a lot of Chinese, so it could be overwhelming at times, but everybody is so friendly and so welcoming. It makes me feel right at home every time I go,” Nicole MacCorkle, Giant Panda Keeper at the Smithsonian National Zoo said.
MacCorkle also said she looks forward to the upcoming summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump, hoping it will boost ties between the two nations.
“It’s good to know we have a long-standing friendship with China, and I hope that that grows with the new administration too,” said MacCorkle. “[I hope] we can continue to collaborate and have visits [which] have us visit China and have the Chinese experts visit us here, and just to pool our knowledge and to learn more, so we can keep preserving the giant pandas for future generations.”
Many U.S. visitors to the zoo also said they hope China and the U.S. will maintain good ties.
Washington’s panda-mania began back in 1972. That’s when the National Zoo became the first U.S. zoo to welcome giant pandas—after President Richard Nixon’s historic trip to China. In 2015, China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan, and then U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, announced the name of the zoo’s newest panda celebrity, Bei Bei. His Chinese name means “precious treasure.”