BEIJING, April 29 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has invited health authorities in Taiwan to attend the 62nd World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer, China's Health Ministry confirmed here Wednesday.
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-Straits relations," said Mao Qun'an, spokesman of the Health Ministry.
The spokesman said that the mainland and Taiwan had recently held talks and negotiations regarding Taiwan's participation in the WHA, but he did not provide any details.
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 added that the mainland supported Taiwan medical experts' participation in international health technology exchanges and acquisition of information from the WHO.
He said the proper settlement of Taiwan's participation in the WHA would promote cross-Straits health exchanges and cooperation and increase mutual understanding for the peaceful development of the relationship between the two sides.
The WHA is the supreme decision-making body for the WHO. It is held each year in May in Geneva, attended by delegates from all 193 members.