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Letter: Driving a wedge between Russia, China unlikely

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In response to the New York Time’s guest editorial in the July 28 Roswell Daily Record, it’s surprising that the giant panda gift from China to Russia wasn’t mentioned.

In a piece that I wrote about the pair of giant pandas being sent to Moscow from Beijing last June, I pointed out that while this event received almost no coverage in the U.S. media (TV and press) it portends a connection between two major global powers that the U.S. is not likely to undo at this point. The far outdated assumption that a wedge can be driven between Russia and China is not likely to be any more successful than if Russia or China tried to split off relations between Canada or Mexico and the U.S.

Both Putin and Jin-Ping gave talks at the giant panda presentation ceremony at the 160th Anniversary of the Moscow Zoopark, the texts of which I have requested to be forwarded to me in English. Although I was invited to this event by the Zoopark, time was too short to obtain a Visa in spite of the fact that I received support from some U.S. Zoos that would have paid part of my way.

China does not present giant pandas to other foreign powers unless a major political advantage is under way. On the other hand, zoos can rent these animals from China for enormous amounts of U.S. dollars, about a million per panda per year.

However, in spite of joint military operations at the eastern end of their countries, not all is in complete synchrony between Russia and China.

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Through a zoo man’s eyes, at our national elections, there is little doubt that Putin will be rooting for Trump, while Jin-Ping will want to see him replaced. In 1972, when Richard Nixon opened the door to Mao’s People’s Republic of China, the National Zoo in Washington received a pair of giant pandas as a gesture of good will. When Nixon then asked if more giant pandas could be sent to other U.S. Zoos, China’s Premier, Zhao Enlai, famously replied with a smile: “Mister President, you can have all the giant pandas you want!”

Reading between the lines, there is no doubt that offer still stands.

Ray Pawley
Arabela