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Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou to open Kaohsiung World Games

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Ma Ying-jeou will officially open the World Games in Kaohsiung Thursday, the International World Games Association decided Tuesday.
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu had been one of the most vocal supporters of such a move, though the government had seemed reticent to take a clear stance on the issue.
Pressure from China prevents Taiwan from participating in international sporting events under its own name, usually forcing it to take recourse to the artificial title of “Chinese Taipei.”
Since taking office in May last year on a platform of improving relations with China, Ma has been reluctant to take steps that might be interpreted as likely to offend Beijing.
Critics have said he has failed to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty in the face of China’s aggressive international behavior. China has consistently refused to accept Taiwan’s sovereignty, considering it as part of its territory.
In a statement Tuesday, IWGA President Ron Froehlich welcomed Ma to participate in the July 16 opening ceremony and to pronounce the games open.
The invitation was the result of talks between the IWGA, the Kaohsiung City Government and the Chinese Taipei Olympics Committee, Froehlich’s statement said. Respect for the host city lay at the base of the decision, according to the statement.