A giant panda cub has made her first public appearance at a zoo in Washington DC, but the bear is more of an economic and political diplomacy tool than a tourist attraction.

Bao Bao is owned by the Chinese government and experts say the Chinese are sending pandas to countries that are giving it the natural resources and technology to grow its economy.

But modern-day "panda diplomacy" really started in the mid-1960s, with China strategically gifting bears to Russia and North Korea.

US President Richard Nixon became the first president to visit the People's Republic in 1972. Mao Zedong gave the US two pandas the same year.

Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan reports from Washington.

Source: Al Jazeera