Chinese pandas arrive in Malaysia after delay over MH370

Written by | May 21, 2014 | 0
Malaysia welcomed a pair of pandas from China today, after a month’s delay caused by tensions over the Malaysian airliner which disappeared in March with mostly Chinese passengers aboard.

The eight-year-old pandas — female Feng Yi (“Phoenix”) and male Fu Wa (“Lucky”) — arrived in Kuala Lumpur to an honour guard of water cannon, after a flight from Chengdu in southwestern China where they were bred.

Feng Yi was briefly shown to the media before being whisked off to the national zoo with her prospective mate.

She initially retreated into her cage when exposed to daylight and the clatter of camera shutters, before gaining courage and curiously peering between the bars.

“May the arrival of these two precious icons of China contribute to building an everlasting friendship and sustainable cooperation” between Malaysia and China, environment minister Palanivel Govindasamy said at a welcoming ceremony.

The two countries agreed in 2012 that China would send the giant pandas for a 10-year stay, in Beijing’s latest use of “panda diplomacy”.

The pair were due to arrive on April 16 but Palanivel said at the time that before dispatching them, Beijing was awaiting further details on Flight MH370, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people including 153 Chinese on board.

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