[분수대] 판다 외교의 함정

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[분수대] 판다 외교의 함정



국제적 환경보호단체 ‘세계자연기금(WWF)’의 로고는 영문 이니셜 위에 그려진 동물 그림이다. 그림의 주인공은 희귀동물의 대명사이자 ‘귀여움의 화신’인 판다. 중국 쓰촨(四川)성이 고향인 판다는 일찍이 외국과의 ‘관시(關係·관계)’ 증진에 쓰였다. ‘판다 외교’가 처음 구사된 건 685년. 당나라 측천무후가 일본 왕실에 한 쌍을 준 게 그 시초였다.

 잠잠했던 판다 외교는 1941년 재등장한다. 중일전쟁 때 도와준 답례로 국민당이 미국에 줬다. 냉전이 심해지자 중국 공산당 역시 판다를 외교 수단으로 썼다. 57년부터 82년까지 9개국에 24마리를 선물했는데 최대 수혜자는 5마리를 받은 북한이었다. 이런 인연 탓인지 재작년 판다의 남한행 소식이 전해지자 북한은 신경질적 반응을 보였다. 사격지에 판다 그림을 붙여놓고 북한군이 포를 쐈다는 거다.

 어쨌거나 가장 유명한 판다 커플은 72년 리처드 닉슨 미 대통령의 역사적인 방중 때 받았던 링링·싱싱. 이들이 동물원에 등장하자 첫날 2만 명이 몰렸으며 1년 관객이 110만 명을 돌파할 정도로 큰 인기여서 미·중 관계 개선의 일등 공신으로 꼽혔다. 이에 자극받은 영국 에드워드 히스 총리도 74년 방중 때 판다를 요청, 한 쌍을 받아갔다.

 재작년 5월에도 수교 40주년에 맞춰 말레이시아에 한 쌍이 전달됐는데 말레이시아 여객기 실종 사건으로 양국 사이가 서먹해진 상황에서 앙금 해소에 큰 몫을 했다.
DA 300

 하지만 판다 외교가 늘 성공적인 건 아니다. 2012년 일본에서 태어난 판다 새끼가 6일 만에 죽자 중국 측 원성이 자자했다. 게다가 당시 센카쿠 열도(중국명 댜오위다오)를 둘러싼 양국 갈등이 고조된 상황에서 극우파 이시하라 신타로(石原愼太郞) 도쿄 지사가 “센카쿠에서 이름을 따 새끼 판다를 ‘센센’ 또는 ‘가쿠카쿠’라 부르자”고 해 중국인들을 분노케 했다.

 또 판다를 가져온 지도자 중에 적잖은 수가 실각해 영국 BBC는 이를 ‘판다의 저주’라 불렀다. 실제로 닉슨 대통령은 워터게이트 사건으로 사퇴했고 히스 총리도 다음 총선에서 대패한다. 또 일본 다나카 가쿠에이(田中角榮) 총리와 네덜란드 율리아나 전 여왕의 남편 베른하르트 공(公) 모두 록히드 사건으로 사임하거나 공직을 내놔야 했다.

  한·중 관계에 먹구름이 낀 상태에서 다음달 판다 한 쌍이 22년 만에 들어온다. 우호가 목적이지만 자칫 양국 사이를 망가뜨릴 수 있으니 만전을 기할 일이다.

남정호 논설위원

The trap of Panda diplomacy

NAM JEONG-HO

International conservation organization World Wide Fund for Nature features a panda on top of its WWF logo. The panda is one of the most well-known endangered species and widely loved animal. The giant panda, which originates from Sichuan province, has long been used for promotion of China’s foreign relations. In 685, the panda diplomacy first appeared as Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty sent a pair of pandas to the Japanese emperor.
Panda diplomacy resurfaced in 1941. To express gratitude for helps during the Sino-Japanese War, the Kuomintang presented pandas to the United States. As the Cold War escalated, the Chinese Communist Party also used pandas as diplomatic gestures. From 1957 to 1982, 24 pandas were doled out to nine countries, and North Korea got the most with five. So when China promised a gift of pandas to South Korea two years ago, North Korea responded hysterically. North Korean soldiers supposedly shot at paintings of panda as target at the shooting range.
At any rate, the most famous panda couple is Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, the gifts to the United States in 1972 after President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China. 20,000 visitors came to see them on the first day at the National Zoo in Washington DC, and every year, over 1.1 million people visit the famous pandas. They were considered the highlights of the improved U.S.-China relations. Encouraged by the success, British Prime Minister Edward Heath requested pandas during his 1974 visit and received a pair for the London Zoo.
In May, 2014, a pair of pandas were also presented to Malaysia to celebrate the 40th anniversary of two countries’ tie. The awkward mood in the aftermath of the disappearance of Malaysian Air was relieved thanks to the gift.
However, panda diplomacy wasn’t always successful. When a baby panda born in Japan in 2012 died six days after birth, China was displeased. The tension between China and Japan was elevated over the Senkaku-Diaoyu Islands dispute, and Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara made Chinese people upset by proposing the baby panda be named “Sen-sen” or “Kaku-kaku” after Senkaku Islands.
Many of the leaders who brought pandas from China fell from power, and BBC calls it “the curse of the pandas.” Richard Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal, and British Prime Minister Heath lost in the following election. Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and Dutch Prince Bernhard, husband of Queen Juliana, had to step down from public positions for involvement in the Lockheed bribery scandal.
With dark clouds covering the Seoul-Beijing relations, a pair of pandas will arrive next month, the first present in since 1998. While the purpose of panda diplomacy is friendship, it could also ruin the bilateral relations. We should offer extra care for the adorable animals when they come.

The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 22, Page 31

Panda diplomacy
판다 외교의 함정
Feb 24,2016

The international conservation organization World Wide Fund for Nature features a panda on its logo. The panda is one of the most well-known endangered species and widely loved animals. The giant panda, which originates from Sichuan Province, has long been used for promoting China’s foreign relations. In 685, the panda diplomacy first appeared as Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty sent a pair of pandas to the Japanese emperor.

Panda diplomacy resurfaced in 1941. To express gratitude for help during the Sino-Japanese War, the Kuomintang presented pandas to the United States. As the Cold War escalated, the Chinese Communist Party also used pandas as diplomatic gestures. From 1957 to 1982, 24 pandas were doled out to nine countries, and North Korea got the most with five. So when China promised a gift of pandas to South Korea two years ago, North Korea responded hysterically. North Korean soldiers supposedly shot at paintings of pandas as targets at the shooting range.

At any rate, the most famous panda couple is Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, the gifts to the United States in 1972 after President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China. On their first day at the National Zoo in Washington, 20,000 visitors came to see them, and every year over 1.1 million people visited the famous pandas. They were considered the highlights of the improved U.S.-China relations. Encouraged by the success, British Prime Minister Edward Heath requested pandas during his 1974 visit and received a pair for the London Zoo.

In May 2014, a pair of pandas were also presented to Malaysia to celebrate the 40th anniversary of two countries’ ties. The awkward mood in the aftermath of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was relieved thanks to the gift.

However, panda diplomacy wasn’t always successful. When a baby panda born in Japan in 2012 died six days after birth, China was displeased. The tension between China and Japan was elevated over the Senkaku-Diaoyu Islands dispute, and Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara made Chinese people upset by proposing the baby panda be named Sen-sen or Kaku-kaku after Senkaku Islands.

Many of the leaders who brought pandas from China fell from power, and BBC calls it “the curse of the pandas.” Richard Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal, and British Prime Minister Heath lost in the following election. Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and Dutch Prince Bernhard, husband of Queen Juliana, had to step down from public positions for involvement in the Lockheed bribery scandal.

While dark clouds hover over Seoul-Beijing relations, a pair of pandas will arrive next month, the first since 1998. While the purpose of panda diplomacy is friendship, it could also ruin bilateral relations. We should offer extra care for the adorable animals when they come.

The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 22, Page 31

by NAM JEONG-HO

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