* China was first to ground 737 MAXs after Ethiopian Airlines crash
* China airlines operated more 737 MAXs than any nation's before grounding
China has decided to accept an invitation to join the US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) review panel on the Boeing 737 MAX, an official at the Chinese aviation regulator said on Tuesday.
The FAA said last week it was forming an international team to review the safety of the aircraft, grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes - in Indonesia in October and in Ethiopia last month - that killed nearly 350 people.
China was the first to ground the newest version of Boeing's workhorse 737 model last month following the Ethiopian Airlines crash, prompting a series of regulatory actions by other governments worldwide.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has decided to send experts to be part of the FAA panel, the official, in the regulator's media relations department, told Reuters.
The CAAC said last week that it has been invited to join the panel.
Chinese airlines operated 97 of the 371 737 MAX jets in service before the grounding, the most of any country, according to Flightglobal data.
Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore have already confirmed that they will join the panel. The European Aviation Safety Agency did not respond immediately to a request for comment on whether it would join the panel.