MH370 chills China-Malaysia 'panda diplomacy'

MH370 chills China-Malaysia 'panda diplomacy'

KUALA LUMPUR - China has postponed plans to send a pair of pandas to Malaysia next week, a minister said Friday, as bilateral relations remain uneasy over the disappearance of flight MH370.

The two countries agreed in 2012 that China would send the giant pandas for a 10-year stay in Malaysia, in Beijing's latest use of "panda diplomacy" to cement ties with other countries.

But Malaysia's environment minister G. Palanivel told AFP: "They (China) are waiting for the results of MH370.

"They will delay the arrival," he said in a text message. "They might send in late May."

In a separate public statement, Palanivel said China and Malaysia have agreed that the giant pandas should arrive "at a more significant date" in May.

May 31 marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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