Big news at state dinner: Obama announces China will let U.S. keep pandas for five more years

Even the normally mild-mannered Jake Tapper can’t resist sneering: “forget the Falun Gong, Tibet and Liu Xiaobo….WE GOTZ PANDAS FOR 5 MORE YEARZ ZOMG.”

My friends, it’s come to this.

President Hu, we have met today in a spirit of mutual respect: the United States — the oldest democracy in the world, and China — one of the oldest civilizations in the world. And while it’s easy to focus on our differences of culture and perspective, let us never forget the values that our people share: A reverence for family; the belief that, with education and hard work and with sacrifice, the future is what we make it; and most of all, the desire to give our children a better life.

Let’s also never forget that throughout our history our people have worked together for mutual progress. We’ve traded together for more than 200 years. We stood together in the Second World War. Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans have helped to build America, including many who join us here tonight.

The Chinese and American people work together and create new opportunities together every single day. Mr. President, today we’ve shown that our governments can work together as well, for our mutual benefit. And that includes this bit of news -— under a new agreement, our National Zoo will continue to dazzle children and visitors with the beloved giant pandas. (Applause.)

I’ve already sounded off on this today, but here’s a perfect summation of this surreal encounter from elsewhere on Twitter: “The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner holds a State Dinner for a man who has the 2010 winner under House Arrest.” What else needs to be said?

Enough gloom, though. There’s celebrity-spotting to be done! Here’s a glimpse from CNN of VIPs walking in. Er, that isn’t Chris Christie, is it?

Update: Another killer line from Twitter that’s as sad as it is funny.

Update: A senior U.S. official tells the Telegraph that Obama did indeed bring up Liu Xiaobo’s case with Hu privately.