Xi, King Philippe hail birth of twin pandas
Born in Belgium, offspring of Haohao and Xinghui symbol of Sino-Belgian ties
President Xi Jinping and King Philippe of Belgium have exchanged congratulatory messages over the birth of two giant pandas in the European country.
The twin cubs were born on Aug 8. Their parents are Haohao and Xinghui, 10-year-old giant pandas on loan to Belgium.
The birth of the cubs deserves joint celebration, Xi said in the message, adding that the cubs will write a new chapter in the beautiful story of friendship between China and Belgium.
Xi said he values greatly the development of China-Belgium ties, and hopes to work with King Philippe to push the two countries' all-around partnership of friendship and cooperation to higher levels.
King Philippe said the birth of the cubs was great news, and he greatly appreciates the nations' good bilateral cooperation in many areas.
China loaned Haohao, a female, and Xinghui, a male, to Belgium in February 2014 for a 15-year research cooperation program.
The giant pandas have been living at Pairi Daiza, a zoo and botanical garden in Brugelette.
In March of that year, Xi, who was on a state visit to Belgium, attended the opening ceremony of the zoo's panda house together with the Belgian monarch.
In June 2016, Haohao and Xinghui gave birth to a male cub named Tianbao, the first giant panda born in Belgium.
The number of giant pandas living in Belgium has risen to five with the birth of the twin cubs in August.