Melania Trump meets China’s furry diplomat, hikes great wall

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Beijing : US First Lady Melania Trump hiked the Great Wall and spent some time with a couple of China’s most prominent diplomats in Beijing on Friday, the pandas Meng’er and Gu Gu.

While President Donald Trump jetted off to a summit in Vietnam after his state visit to China, his wife stayed behind to see the Beijing Zoo’s favourite tenants before heading to the Great Wall. The former model was greeted by a group of schoolchildren who waved Chinese and American flags and led her to the panda enclosure. They oohed and aahed as Meng’er crawled on to a platform and began munching bamboo. His name means “Cute No 2” in Mandarin.

Trump later “interacted privately” with Gu Gu behind-the-scenes, zoo director Li Xiaoguang told. Born in 1999, Gu Gu is a “good-looking panda with a robust memory,” traits that serve him well as “goodwill ambassador of the zoo”, Li said. Gu Gu’s name doesn’t have a particular meaning, but the repetition of syllables is generally used in China to make names sound adorable, report AFP. Beijing has cultivated a global fascination with pandas as part of its diplomacy by sending the animals to overseas zoos where they have proven a wildly popular draw.

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