Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

In pictures: Pandas sent to Taiwan

Pandas loaded onto a plane in Sichuan province, China (23/12/2008)

China has sent two giant pandas to Taiwan, in a sign of improving relations between the mainland and the self-governing island.

Police watch pandas arrive at the airport in Ya'an, Sichuan province (23/12/2008)

Hundreds of security guards and armed police watched over the operation at Shuangliu airport in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

People cheer the lorry carrying the pandas in Sichuan province (23/12/2008)

The pandas were given a rousing sent off, as workers and students turned out to cheer them on their way.

Chinese people at the panda leaving ceremony in Ya'an, Sichuan province (23/12/2008)

Their departure was shown live on television in China, where most people consider Taiwan to be part of Chinese territory.

Chinese children dressed as pandas in Ya'an, Sichuan province (23/12/2008)

Beijing has often given pandas as gifts to other countries, a practice which has become known as "panda diplomacy".

Shop selling panda themed gifts at the panda breeding centre in Sichuan province (22/12/2008)

But the pandas are also a big tourist draw - their new home, Taipei zoo, is expecting them to attract about 30,000 visitors a day.

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan at the panda breeding centre in Sichuan province, China (22/12/2008)

When put together, their names - Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan - mean reunion, which has angered Taiwanese separatists.

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan with Taiwanese breeder You Xueyin in Sichuan province, China (file image)

They were first offered to Taiwan three years ago but have only been accepted after a new government came to power.

Pandas are offloaded at Taiwan's Taoyuan airport (23/12/2008)

After a three hour flight, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan were offloaded at Taoyuan airport in Taiwan.

Panda in Taipei zoo, Taiwan (23/12/2008)

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan will spend a month in quarantine before being released into their new glass and rock enclosure.

Panda in Taipei zoo, Taiwan (23/12/2008)

The zoo is hoping that with one male and one female panda, they could eventually have another addition to their collection.



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