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Taiwan to attend WHO meet as observer

The World Health Organization has invited health authority in Taiwan to attend the 62nd World Health Assembly as an observer, China's Health Ministry confirmed in Beijing yesterday.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan sent an invitation to the Taiwan health authorities, asking that they attend the assembly from May 18 to 27 as an observer, according to a statement from the ministry.

"Such an arrangement shows our goodwill to achieve practical benefits for Taiwan people and indicates our sincerity to promote peaceful development of cross-strait relations," said Health Ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an.

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou welcomed the decision. "The mainland authorities have made a friendly gesture," he said.

Ma's spokesman Wang Yu-chi said the island would participate in the assembly as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei, the same title it uses in the Olympics.

Mao said the mainland had been always concerned about the well-being of the Taiwan people and their desire to take part in WHO activities.

He said the proper settlement of Taiwan's participation in WHA would promote cross-strait health exchanges and cooperation and increase mutual understanding for the development of the relationship between the two sides.

The WHA is the WHO's supreme decision-making body.


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