More U.S. Debt? China Extends ‘Panda Loan’

As political tension between the U.S. and China continues to grow over issues such as trade agreements, intellectual property and human rights, some Americans are concerned about the loan provided to us by the burgeoning nation.

No, I’m not talking about the United States’ $900 billion debt to China – although that is certainly an issue that needs tackling – but rather the loan of its giant pandas to the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Well, it looks like we’ll get to keep them a little while longer.

An agreement signed today by Dennis Kelly, director of the National Zoo, and Secretary General Zang Chunlin of the China Wildlife Conservation Association extends the “panda loan” for five more years in an effort to support breeding, research and conservation efforts, according to a statement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

While China plows forward in fields such as manufacturing and renewable energy, it’s encouraging to see that it still values the intellectual, scientific and research capabilities that the U.S. has to offer. In addition to the obvious trade partnerships that are so critical to both nations’ economic health, scientific research and wildlife conservation have the potential to be key areas of collaboration between the countries.

The competition will undoubtedly be fierce in the years ahead — and yes, there are myriad issues bound to cause friction. The U.S. and China represent a classic case of a love-hate relationship, and this co-dependent couple will continue to be passive aggressive into the foreseeable future. But China, please leave the pandas out of this. After all, they’re not the ones who owe you $900 billion.

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