26 Dec 2008

China gifts giant pandas to Taiwan

10:36 am on 26 December 2008

Two giant pandas have arrived in Taiwan from China. They are a gift from Beijing to the self-governing island it considers Chinese territory.

The pandas' names, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, together mean "reunion" and underscore hopes their arrival in Taiwan will spur unity between the two nations.

Two legislators in Taiwan danced around parliament in giant panda costumes to mock the pandas' much-publicised arrival.

The pandas were first offered three years ago, but were rejected by the president at the time. That decision was reversed after Taiwan's nationalists won the presidency in May.

Since then, diplomatic and economic links have improved. Last week, daily passenger flights, new shipping routes and postal links between Taiwan and the mainland were established for the first time in six decades.