Taiwan announced on Tuesday its return to the World Expo after a 40-year absence with the completion of the Taiwan Pavilion in Shanghai. It is being seen as a fresh sign of warming ties with China.
"We can present Taiwan's culture, technology and scenery at the World Expo for the first time in 40 years," said Wang Chih-kang, chairman of the main operator Taiwan External Trade Development Council.
The high-tech pavilion cost one billion Taiwan dollars (USD 31 million). It is due to start trial operation on April 20 before the Expo's official opening on May 1, operators said.
Chih-kang added that the pavilion will give Chinese visitors an opportunity to "directly see the real and beautiful side of Taiwan." The pavilion features a spherical theatre with '4D' special effects where visitors will experience the scent of flowers and the splash of water, he said.
Taiwan last attended the World Expo in Osaka, Japan in 1970, a year before losing its UN seat to China. It has been absent ever since, reflecting lingering political tensions with Beijing.
Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, though the island has governed itself since 1949.
However, ties have improved dramatically since Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008 on a China-friendly platform.
With more than 190 participating countries, the six-month Expo in Shanghai will be the largest ever and is expected to draw up to 100 million people.