China deployed a powerful tool from its diplomatic trove during President Hu Jintao's visit Wednesday, announcing it will let two giant pandas spend five more years in the United States.

"Under a new agreement, our National Zoo will continue to dazzle children and visitors with the beloved giant pandas," President Barack Obama told guests at a gala state dinner honoring Hu at the White House.

The deal to be inked Thursday at the National Zoo will allow giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, who were supposed to go back to China at the end of last year, to stay in the US capital until 2015, Zang Chunlin, secretary general of the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) said.

"Taking full consideration of the fondness of the American people towards the giant panda, China reached agreement with the US side on the extension of the agreement on the giant pandas," Zang said through an interpreter.