China, Taiwan agree to swap rare animals

November 5, 2008 6:37:35 PM PST
China has agreed to give two pandas to Taiwan in an exchange of rare animals that marks warming ties between the Asian rivals. Under Thursday's agreement signed by top Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin and Taipei Mayor Hau Long-bin, Beijing offers the island two pandas and receives a Formosa sika deer and a Formosa serow, a goat-like animal.

The swap agreement comes two days after Chen signed a landmark trade pact with Taiwan to significantly expand air links and establish direct sea links for the first time since the two sides split amid civil war in 1949.

China still claims the island a part of its territory and has said any moves to formalize the island's de facto independence will be met with force.