Warming relations between Taiwan and the mainland has been one of the slow-burn stories in recent months. As both sides have elected to tread carefully, appreciating the need for further engagement but sensitive to deep-rooted political issues this might stir, we have been drip-fed information. Direct air, shipping and postal links have resumed; the trickle of mainland tourists to Taiwan has gathered pace; and talks have been held over various potential accords, most notably a financial services agreement. While we wouldn’t go so far as to say talk is cheap – having these guys sit around a table together is eminently preferable to missile drills over the Taiwan Strait – some observers are keen to see a little more concrete action. Well, yesterday they got it. First of all, Beijing indicated it would not stand in the way of “Chinese Taipei” attending the World Health Organization’s annual assembly in Geneva next month. Beijing’s decision to drop its longstanding opposition might be seen as a triumph of necessity over politics: with growing global concern over swine flu (which, contrary to recent claims, did not originate from China, the Ministry of Agriculture says), it is in China’s interests that neighboring territories stay informed. Secondly, China Mobile will buy a 12% stake in Taiwan telecom provider Far EasTone, the first direct investment on the island by a mainland state-owned enterprise. There will undoubtedly be teething problems, but relaxing restrictions on cross-strait investment is of vital importance, particularly to Taiwan. The island’s commercial prospects are already linked to those of the mainland to the point that the best thing China can do for Taiwan’s struggling economy is help out its own.