In this photo taken Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, panda cubs from the Wolong Giant Panda Reserve Center in Sichuan are seen in a Shanghai zoo, in China. Ten giant panda cubs, all born after the deadly earthquake that hit China's Sichuan province in 2008, were sent to Shanghai to go on display during this year's World Expo.AP Photo
The 8-year-old pair, named Tian Tian and Yang Guang -- or Sweetie and Sunshine -- were welcomed by bagpipe players and a host of dignitaries as they touched down at Edinburgh Airport on a specially chartered Boeing 777 flight called the "Panda Express."
The pandas, from the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, are to stay for 10 years at Edinburgh Zoo, where officials hope they will give birth to cubs. The female, Tian Tian, has had twin cubs in the past, but not with Yang Guang. The male panda has previously fathered cubs as well.
The Scottish government has said the loan of the pandas symbolizes a "growing friendship" between Scotland and China.
China sometimes gifts or lends the cuddly looking animals -- considered a Chinese national treasure -- to other countries as a sign of cooperation.
In 1974, British Prime Minister Edward Heath received two pandas from the Chinese government as a goodwill gift to mark his visit to China. Female Ching-Ching and male Chia-Chia became a much-loved attraction at the London Zoo, but never produced any cubs.
Zoo officials have spent the past five years securing the loan of the animals, which are expected to boost Scottish tourism.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland will pay more than 600,000 pounds ($935,000) a year to China for the loan of Sweetie and Sunshine, not including the expense of imported bamboo.
Britain's last giant panda, Ming Ming, lived in the London Zoo until 1994, when she was returned to China.