China has dropped its long-standing opposition to Taiwan participating in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly, paving the way for the island to attend a UN meeting next month for the first time since 1971, the Financial Times reported. The WHO has invited Taipei to participate in the World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva as an observer from “Chinese Taipei,” the name the island uses to participate in the Olympics and the WTO. The move is the latest sign of improving relations across the Taiwan Strait and is a political victory for Ma Ying-jeou, the island’s president. Beijing and Taipei have signed several economic co-operation deals since Ma’s election last year, but issues such as Taiwan’s participation in international bodies had been deemed too politically sensitive. Ma welcomed the WHO’s invitation, saying that goodwill from China was a reason for the breakthrough.
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