Representatives of China and Taiwan have signed a deal to swap rare wildlife to mark warming ties between the rivals, with Taiwan receiving two pandas in exchange for a deer and a goat-like animal native to the island.

Under the deal signed Thursday by top Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin and Taipei Mayor Hau Long-bin, Beijing offers the island two pandas and receives a Formosa sika deer and a Formosa serow, which is a goat-like or antilope-like mammal.

The animal exchange deal comes two days after Chen signed a landmark trade pact with Taiwan to significantly expand air links and establish direct sea links for the first time since the two sides split amid civil war in 1949.

Taiwan's pro-independence opposition fears Taiwan could compromise its sovereignty under closer economic ties, and activists have staged a series of protests since Chen arrived Monday.

China still claims the island a part of its territory and has said any moves to formalize the island's de facto independence will be met with force.