Daegu mayor seeks to bring Chinese giant panda to his city

Giant panda Fu Bao eats a carrot during an online celebration of her first birthday at the Everland amusement park in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, in this file photo from July 22, 2021. The female cub is the first Korea-born panda and has grown to weigh over 40 kilograms, 200 times her size at birth. Korea Times file

Daegu Mayor Hong Joon-pyo plans to request the rental of a giant panda during his meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Korea Xing Haiming scheduled for May 31, according to city officials Friday.The plan comes as the first Korea-born giant panda, Fu Bao, is still remembered by many fans since she was transferred to China in April.According to the Daegu city government, Hong will attend a 30-minute meeting with Xing and discuss the city’s development project. During this meeting, Hong plans to request bringing a giant panda to Daegu Grand Park, which is slated to be completed in 2027.This will be Xing’s first visit to Daegu since his arrival to Korea in 2020. After meeting with Hong at City Hall, the Chinese ambassador will attend the second edition of the Asia-Pacific Chinese Education Forum at Keimyung University.During the groundbreaking ceremony for Daegu Grand Park on May 8, Hong said, “I will create a park where people can rest and animals can live healthy. I will also consult with China to bring a giant panda that will draw huge attention from citizens.”

Fu Bao, who became a national sensation during the COVID-19 pandemic, was returned to her parents’ country China on April 3 before turning 4 under an international agreement. Hundreds of fans joined the farewell ceremony at Everland amusement park in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, which Xing attended as well.The female panda is now accommodated at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China’s Sichuan province.Hong previesly showed negative responses to the countrywide craze for the beloved panda.“I don’t understand those who are obsessed with Fu Bao. She is just a panda who stayed at Everland and returned to her native country,” Hong said at the time.However, Hong’s attitude toward the giant panda somewhat changed after his trip to Chengdu in April.”Chengdu, famous for pandas, is a friendly city where Fu Bao, who came to Korea, now lives,” Hong wrote on Facebook for the caption of a photo of himself and pandas in Chengdu.”They (pandas) may be luckier than humans in a sense that they live in luxurious private villas, eat for 10 스포츠토토존 hours a day and spend the rest of the day sleeping.”

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