Nov 2, 2022 - World

Chinese experts arrive in Taiwan to help treat beloved panda

Panda at Taipei Zoo

Giant panda Tuan Tuan looks at its birthday cake at Taipei Zoo on Aug. 30, 2019 in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo by Yang Chengchen/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Two Chinese veterinary experts arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday to help treat a giant panda at the Taipei Zoo that has fallen ill, AP reported.

Why it matters: Taiwanese officials invited the Chinese experts amid concerns the panda, named Tuan Tuan, may have a brain tumor, per the BBC. Tuan Tuan's illness offers a rare point of coordination between China and Taiwan as tensions between the two have soared this year.

State of play: Taipei Zoo spokesperson Eric Tsao said at a press briefing Wednesday that the experts hope to combine their knowledge and experience to ensure that Tuan Tuan could get "the best treatment and the best daily care," per AP.

  • Tuan Tuan's MRI has shown signs of growing lesions on his brain indicating that the 18-year-old panda's illness is “progressing rapidly,” the spokesperson said.
  • The Chinese experts, Wu Honglin and Wei Ming, have arrived from the Wolong National Nature Reserve in China's Sichuan Province. Together with their Taiwanese counterparts, they have agreed that Tuan Tuan is too ill to undergo invasive surgery, Focus Taiwan reported.
  • Tuan Tuan's treatment will instead focus on end-of-life care.

The big picture: China regularly engages in panda diplomacy, gifting or lending its pandas to countries around the world as a gesture of goodwill.

  • Tuan Tuan and his mate, Yuan Yuan, were gifted to Taiwan by the Chinese government in 2008, during a period of warmer relations.
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