World Games to Open in Taiwan, China's Presence Unclear བོད་སྐད།

A possible boycott by China is casting a cloud over Thursday's opening ceremony of the 2009 World Games in Taiwan.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou will open the Games at a glistening new state-of-the-art stadium in the southern city of Kaoshiung. Observers says the Chinese team's presence at the opening ceremonies could be seen as legitimizing Mr. Ma' s position as a head of state.

Beijing and Taipei have been at odds since China's Nationalist forces were defeated by the communists in a 1949 civil war and fled to Taiwan. China views Taiwan as part of its territory, and has threatened to invade the self-ruled island if it formally declares its independence.

Thousands of athletes from 91 countries will participate in the World Games, which feature 31 non-Olympic sports, such as water skiing, canoe polo and tug-of-war.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and AP.