China announces naming contest for pandas.

Chinese officials have launched a contest to name the two giant pandas being donated to Taiwan.

Cao Qingyao, a spokesman for the State Forestry Administration, said that the ideal name would have two Chinese characters and represent the aspirations of the people of Taiwan, which China considers a breakaway province, Xinhua, the official government news agency, reported. At a Beijing news conference, Cao said that everyone is free to submit names, including overseas Chinese, Taiwanese and residents of Macao.

The couple was selected for compatibility from available pandas at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in Sichuan Province. The male was known there as "Xiaoguaiguai" or "little darling" and the female as "Huangmao Yatou," which translates as "chit of a girl."

Cao said the Forestry Service will select 10 finalists, which will be released on China Central Television on the eve of the New Year Festival. Television viewers will make the final choice.

One set of names that have already been suggested by many people might do more to express the aspirations of China with regard to Taiwan than vice versa. They are "Tuan Tuan" and "Yuan Yuan." "Tuan yuan" means reunion in Chinese.

United Press International.