Giant panda gifted to Taiwan by China dies

A giant panda gifted by China to Taiwan in 2008 has died after a period of ill-health, Taipei Zoo has said.

Tuan Tuan and his breeding partner Yuan Yuan were given to Taiwan when relations with China were more cordial.

But relations have soured since then, with Beijing – which has long regarded Taiwan as a breakaway province – becoming more beligerent.

The zoo first noticed Tuan Tuan was ill in August when he began suffering seizures.

Vets from China were called to examine him, and scans showed he had a brain lesion and he was placed on medication.

The 18-year-old bear’s condition became “irreversible” and he could no longer “live a quality life”, a statement from the zoo said.

While the two bears were donated during a period of warmer relations between the neighbours, their names combined actually mean “reunion” or “unity” – a likely reference to China’s desire to reabsorb Taiwan one day.

China’s President Xi Jinping views Taiwan as part of its territory, and in a speech last…

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