AP NEWS

Danes rush to see pandas on loan from China

April 11, 2019
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The panda Xing Er in the new enclosure in Copenhagen Zoo, Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Denmark's Queen Margrethe opened a newly built, 160-million kroner ($24.2-million) enclosure at Copenhagen’s zoo for two freshly arrived occupants: a pair of black-and-white bears on loan from China as the Scandinavian nation becomes part of Beijing's so-called "panda diplomacy." (Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Thousands are queuing at Copenhagen Zoo to see two giant black-and-white bears on loan from China under Beijing’s popular “panda diplomacy” initiative.

Denmark’s Australian-born Crown Princess Mary untied a red velvet ribbon to open the gates Thursday in her capacity as the zoo’s patron. She was assisted by her twins, Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent.

The opening came a day after Mary’s mother-in-law Queen Margrethe inaugurated the Panda House that’s been built for 6-year-old male Xing Er, and Mao Sun, a 5-year-old female.

The bears arrived last week in cargo containers and were driven to the zoo’s new 160-million kroner ($24.2 million) yin-yang shaped enclosure.

Beijing has lent out pandas as a sign of goodwill. Any cubs born during the 15-year loan period are considered China’s.