China’s panda pair arrive in Seoul

Seoul: A pair of Chinese giant pandas arrived in South Korea on Thursday on a 15-year lease aimed at joint research.

Yuan Xin, a three-year-old male, and Hua Ni, a two-year-old female, arrived at the Incheon International Airport at around 2.20 p.m. by a special Korean Air flight from Chengdu, Xinhua news agency reported.

The lease was put on one of agendas during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to South Korea in July 2014 when Xi agreed with his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye to cooperate in panda research. The lease was confirmed during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Seoul last year.

China had previously loaned a pair of pandas to South Korea in 1994, but they were returned to their home country in 1998 when Seoul suffered from the Asian foreign exchange crisis.

The pair will live in the 3,300 sq.m. Panda World at Everland, South Korea’s largest theme park.

Joint research will be conducted by Everland and China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP).

The pair will be unveiled to the public from April after a one-month period of adjustment to new environment. During the transitional period, they will be fed Sichuan bamboo taken from the region.