HELSINKI – A pair of giant pandas has arrived in snowy Finland as China's gift to mark the small Nordic nation's independence centenary.
The Chinese ambassador to Finland and Finnish officials led a ceremony to welcome four-year old male Hua Bao and three-year old female Jin Baobao to Helsinki airport Thursday.
The pandas have been renamed in Finnish as Pyry, meaning "Snowfall," and Lumi, meaning "Snow." They immediately began their journey to the Ahtari Zoo nature reserve in central Finland, amid cold wintry conditions similar to the mammals' natural living environment in China's mountain areas.
The latest installment of Beijing's "panda diplomacy" was finalized in April 2017, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Helsinki to mark Finland's 100 years since independence.