First lady touts panda diplomacy amid rising tensions with China

Michelle Obama touted the close ties between the United States and China in a video celebrating the naming of the National Zoo's new giant panda cub.

"After decades of close collaboration with our Chinese partners, these remarkable animals stand as a symbol of the growing connections between our two countries," she said.

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The first lady's video comes amid rising tensions between China and the U.S.

The United States has expressed concern over Chinese airspace claims in the East China Sea — which are rejected by the U.S. and Japan. Vice President Biden is on a visit to those two countries, where he'll address the issue.

On Sunday, the zoo announced the new cub would be named Bao Bao, as chosen in an online contest.

Obama, greeting people in Chinese, pointed out that China and America have worked together to save giant pandas from extinction. Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan also sent a video message.

"Pandas like this one have a long, proud history in Washington. In fact, it was actually a first lady, Pat Nixon, who helped jump start panda diplomacy," Obama noted.

"We are thrilled to welcome this little cub, a cub who exemplifies both the common bond between our nations and the bright future of this magnificent species. That's a lot for a little bear but I think she's up to it," she said.

"I want to thank the Chinese people for sharing these treasured animals with all of us."