The rediscovered harmony between Washington and Beijing, achieved yesterday after over four hours of face-to-face talks between the American President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, has been happily confirmed by a significant ‘thawing’ message: China’s reversal on its controversial decision to repatriate pandas loaned to American zoos over the years. “A good sign,” commentators across the ocean emphasized because the anticipated dialogue between the two leaders was not followed by the usual joint statement but only by a press conference, during which Biden also slipped on a response, imprudently reiterating that President Xi is a dictator.

Evidently, points of friction persist between the two powers, but the fact that Beijing is dusting off the so-called “panda diplomacy” – the tradition of using cute black-and-white bears as a diplomatic tool to win favor with countries or conclude agreements – truly raises hopes for a soon overcoming of the remaining differences on the table.

Indeed, it was President Xi Jinping, as a final act before leaving California, who extended an olive branch to Washington, announcing that the panda loan contracts to the United States (which had reached their expiration) would be renewed.

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