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China sends pandas to Malaysia

May 21, 2014 5:11 pm

Two pandas from China have arrived in Malaysia as Beijing looks to build ties amid regional tensions.

The eight-year-old pandas will be housed in a 1.6 hectare air-conditioned complex at the national zoo.

China agreed to loan them to Malaysia to mark 40 years of diplomatic ties this year.

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But Beijing postponed their delivery because of disagreements over the Malaysian authorities’ handling of the disappearance of flight MH370.

Most of the passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines plane were Chinese, and their relatives have accused the authorities of mishandling the search for the plane.

Beijing’s loan comes, however, as it looks to build allies in the region amid growing anti-China sentiment in South East Asia caused by territorial rows over the South China Sea.

China has often used “panda diplomacy” to strengthen ties, and has sent pandas to the United States, Singapore and Japan in the past.

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