US First Lady Melania Trump spent some time with a couple of China’s most prominent diplomats on her last day in Beijing on Friday: the pandas Meng’er and Gu Gu. While President Donald Trump jetted off to a summit in Vietnam after his state visit to China, his wife stayed behind to see the Beijing Zoo’s favourite tenants before heading to the Great Wall later in the day. The former model was greeted by a group of schoolchildren who waved Chinese and American flags and led her to the panda enclosure. They oohed and aahed as Meng’er crawled onto a platform and began munching on bamboo. His name means “Cute No. 2” in Mandarin. Trump later “interacted privately” with Gu Gu behind-the-scenes, zoo director Li Xiaoguang told reporters. Born in 1999, Gu Gu is a “good-looking panda with a robust memory,” traits that serve him well as “goodwill ambassador of the zoo”, Li said. Gu Gu’s name doesn’t have a particular meaning, but the repetition of syllables is generally used in China to make names sound adorable. Published in Daily Times, November 11th 2017.