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Japan, China to Agree on Giant Panda Breeding Research

The signing is intended to showcase the continuing thaw in bilateral relations that have been frayed

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Japan, China, Giant Panda, Breeding
Candidate zoos for a new giant panda have already been discussed and they include facilities in Miyagi and Hyogo prefectures. Pixabay

Japan and China are planning to cooperate on breeding research for giant pandas by signing a memorandum later this month when their leaders meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, the media reported.

The signing is intended to showcase the continuing thaw in bilateral relations that have been frayed over territorial and historical issues and paves the way for China’s future lease of another giant panda at the request of Japan, The Japan Times quoted sources as saying on Wednesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to make his first visit to Japan since he came to power in 2013 and a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is being arranged on the sidelines of the June 28 and 29 summit.

According to the report, the memorandum will state that Japan’s Foreign Ministry and Environment Ministry and China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration will cooperate over giant panda breeding.

Japan, China, Giant Panda, Breeding
Japan and China are planning to cooperate on breeding research for giant pandas. Pixabay

It will also enable the two countries to jointly cope with diseases and other breeding problems faced by giant pandas, including those already leased to Japan.

Giant pandas from China are seen as symbols of bilateral friendship. There are now 10 giant pandas in Japan, including leased animals and their offspring.

Three of them reside at the Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo, six live at Adventure World in Wakayama prefecture and one is a resident of Kobe Oji Zoo in Hyogo prefecture.

Most recently, the loan period for giant panda cub Xiang Xiang at Ueno zoo was extended until the end of next year. Beijing has ownership of the cub, born in 2017 at the zoo, and the animal was originally due to be returned to China this month, The Japan Times said.

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The envisioned agreement “will add impetus to efforts to secure the lease of another giant panda”, a senior Foreign Ministry official said.

Candidate zoos for a new giant panda have already been discussed and they include facilities in Miyagi and Hyogo prefectures.

The first giant pandas came to Ueno zoo in 1972 to commemorate the normalization of bilateral ties. In 2011, China expressed a willingness to lease more giant pandas to Japan but it did not materialize. (IANS)

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Restricting AI Research with China Harmful: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

If those tariffs are implemented, virtually all Chinese imports would be subject to punitive taxes

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China is a leading force in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and blocking AI research with the country will do more harm than good for humanity, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said.

In an interview with the BBC, Nadella said that despite national security concerns, backing out of China would “hurt more” than it solved.

“A lot of AI research happens in the open and the world benefits from knowledge being open,” he said.

Quoting Microsoft President Brad Smith, Nadella said: “We know any technology can be a tool or a weapon. The question is, how do you ensure that these weapons don’t get created? I think there are multiple mechanisms.”

Microsoft Research Asia, the company’s fundamental research arm in the Asia Pacific region, was founded in Beijing in November 1998.

The media reported in April alleged that Microsoft has been collaborating with researchers linked to a Chinese military-backed university on AI. The research covered several AI topics, such as face analysis and machine reading.

Microsoft defended the research, saying that it was part of a worldwide effort by its scientists “to work with their international counterparts on cutting-edge technology issues”, reported the Financial Times.

Microsoft
Microsoft doesn’t use customers’ data for profit: Satya Nadella. (Wikimedia Commons)

According to Nadella, they have control on who gets to use their technology.

“And we do have principles. Beyond how we build it, how people use it is something that we control through Terms of Use. And we are constantly evolving the terms of use,” he added.

The International Monetary Fund has said that the trade war between the US and China was triggering a global economic slowdown.

On September 1, the US followed through on plans to impose a 15 per cent tariff on certain Chinese consumer-goods imports including apparel, electronics, footwear and dairy products, that were valued at around $112 billion in 2018.

Those tariffs were in addition to 25 per cent tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports that began to be imposed on July 2018.

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US President Donald Trump’s administration said that it would wait until December 15 to impose tariffs, now set at 15 per cent, on certain mass-consumption products imported from China, including smartphones, laptops, video games and toys.

If those tariffs are implemented, virtually all Chinese imports would be subject to punitive taxes. (IANS)