News: State legislators writing a letter to President Xi Jinping to bring pandas to Washington
By Wen Liu Oct. 7, 2015
Hidden amidst a sea of stories of business and technology events surrounding Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit here last month was a quiet yet exciting gem: former governor of Washington John Spellman presented a letter to President Xi when they met at the Lincoln High School in Tacoma. The letter was signed by a number of state legislators expressing their hope to bring native pandas from China to Washington state. The legislators mentioned the state's long, special and positive relations with China, especially Sichuan, Washington’s sister province since 1982 and home of the pandas, the establishment of the Washington State Panda Foundation, and how hosting two pandas would further expanding the interaction between Washington and Sichuan. Here is the full text of that letter, courtesy of Senator Steve Litzow, representing Washington’s 41st Legislative District, a signatory of the letter.
His Excellency Mr. Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
Dear President Xi Jinping:
The State of Washington is very proud of our long, sustained relationship with the People’s Republic of China. Washington State is a strong and positive trade partner and host to innovative international companies whose products benefit the people of China. Our cultural exchanges and remarkable Washington educational institutions host many of the brightest students from China. Our government to government relationships have always been beneficial and bring our state and China closer.
We are writing to request the People’s Republic of China honor the State of Washington by working in a positive effort to bring native pandas to our state. The Washington Panda Foundation has been established to further this process and help reach a positive end.
With the initial establishment of a sister-state agreement with Sichuan Province in 1982, Washington State is prepared to host pandas for the enjoyment of our people and to expand our cultural relationship and focus on exchanges to further the important and special relationship with the people of Sichuan and China. In 2011, during a Washington State Delegation visit, a Memorandum of Understanding expanded the importance to support and plan further interaction between Washington and the province. The hosting of two pandas in our state would both further and compliment this agreement. Washington State stands ready to provide full support to the Washington Panda Foundation and China to reach this exciting goal.
We look forward to continuing the discussion of bringing pandas to Washington State and welcome the continued process which can lead to that goal.
(For more information on major events in Washington state-China relations, go to WA China Chronicle.)