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Chen Deming visits panda cub as he wraps up Taiwan trip

2014/02/28 12:13:02

Chen Deming went to Taipei Zoo to see Yuanzai, accompanied by Mayor Hau Lung-bin (left).

Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) China's chief negotiator with Taiwan Chen Deming fulfilled his wish to see the giant panda cub at Taipei Zoo, making a visit there Friday before leaving Taiwan at the end of a three-day trip.

Accompanied by his Taiwan counterpart Lin Join-sane, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), and Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, Chen and other Chinese officials visited the zoo before its regular opening time.

The 8-month-old cub, called Yuanzai, was active in her enclosure and the visitors smilingly posed for pictures with her.

When Chen, president of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), visited Taiwan for the first time in November, Yuanzai was too young to be put on public display. At the time, Chen said he he hoped to see her on his next visit.

The panda cub was born last July to a pair of giant pandas, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, which were given to Taiwan in late 2008 as a gift by the Chinese government.

In an attempt at panda humor, Chen said to Hau just before leaving the panda enclosure that the mayor looked like a giant panda. Hau smiled but did not respond otherwise.

There was a heightened police presence of more than 40 officers at the zoo and nearby metro station during Chen's visit, while a few protesters holding placards also showed up.

One of the protesters shouted at the visitors and said Taiwan and China are two separate countries.

Chen arrived in Taipei Wednesday for the 10th round of SEF-ARATS talks, during which two agreements were signed on meteorological cooperation and earthquake monitoring.

The two sides also agreed on the topics on the agenda of their next meeting, which is expected to be held later in the year.

Chen is due to return to Beijing late Friday.

(By Scarlett Chai, Ku Chuan and Jay Chen)