California Gov. Jerry Brown’s first day in China began with a ceremonial signing and then proceeded to pandas. Brown started the first…
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California Gov. Jerry Brown’s first day in China began with a ceremonial signing and then proceeded to pandas.
Brown started the first leg of his five-night China tour Sunday in Chengdu, the southwestern city known for the cuddly creatures, high-tech and fiery hot pot.
He quickly signed a ceremonial document acknowledging a sister relationship between his state and the broader province, known as Sichuan, while traditional Chinese music blared from a speaker. The ceremony added another ally in California’s relationship with China and set the tone for a trip focused on forging climate change partnerships.
The governor referenced the Trump administration obliquely, but his comments reinforced the differing direction he hopes to lead California — and possibly, the world.
“The key to Paris was President Xi [Jinping] and President Obama meeting together, ” he told a room of suited Chinese delegates, referring to the international climate pact President Trump pulled the U. S. out of last week.
Now “it’s up to President Xi to advance the ball. We want to stand behind him and make that possible, ” the governor said.
The afternoon brought more levity.
Chengdu residents — and diplomatic envoys — insist a visit to their city is not complete without a trip to the panda base. This sprawling, eco-tourism park holds 176 pandas, including a 1-month-old cub.
Who could pass that up?
A small cart carried Brown’s delegation through the park, until they reached a wooded area with twin cubs gnawing on bamboo and a mother sleeping soundly nearby.
Brown and three others entered a building that held more baby pandas. Officials at the park required media and the rest of the staff to wait outside. Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, reported back: The pandas weren’ t soft at all, and actually felt wiry.
The governor said they were “very cute” and reminded him of his dog Colusa.
He continued the tour, as a guide fed him information about the animals’ life span and eating habits. Brown stared for a bit at the heaving stomach of a snoozing panda perched on a wood platform.
“They do sit around a lot, don’ t they?” he said, walking on.