CHINA HAS sent two giant pandas to Taiwan as a gift from Beijing to the self governing island long considered by the Chinese to be part of the mainland territory.
The two pandas, named Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, are a reference to the Chinese word tuanyuan meaning reunion, and mark a warming in relations between the countries.
This is the second time that pandas have been offered to Taiwan. They were originally refused as a gift. Since then the nationalist party, Kuomintang, have taken control of Taiwan and reversed the decision after taking control in May.
Tight security is surrounding the entire transportation of the pandas reflecting the sensitivity of any event surrounding links between China and Taiwan.
Roads have been closed and a specially chartered flight has been arranged for the pandas as they begin their journey to their new home.
Although the pandas have been generally well received and are expected to draw up to 30,000 visitors a day in their new home at Taipei Zoo, the original problems between the countries remain.
Taiwanese president Ma Yingjeou only recently called on China to withdraw hundreds of missiles pointing towards Taiwan and it is felt that this does not address the real problem of the constant military threat felt by Taiwan, forever in the shadow of their enormous neighbour.
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