Taiwanese reaction to Nancy Pelosi’s visit ranges from excitement to anger

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TAIPEI, Taiwan — There were signs that Taiwanese people were both excited and anxious during the roughly 18 hours that Nancy Pelosi and other US lawmakers spent on the island.

“Very unhappy [Chinese Communist Party] I am very happy,” Ingrid Ho, a 35-year-old resident of Taipei, told The Washington Post on Wednesday. “Pelosi’s arrival could mean all kinds of consequences, but at this point, excitement outweighs reason.”

Ho, like Taiwan’s 23 million citizens, has lived with threats from China for decades. “Maybe Taiwanese people are used to being afraid,” Ho said. “We’re at the center of this conflict, but somehow I still feel like a spectator — interested in how this will turn out.”

Pelosi, a longtime critic of the Chinese Communist Party, has won her fans among supporters of Taiwan independence. In 1991, Pelosi visited Beijing and carried a black-and-white banner in Tiananmen Square, commemorating the victims of the 1989 massacre, that read “For those who died for democracy.” In recent years, he has been an active supporter of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

At Taipei Zhongshan Airport on Tuesday, A A small group of supporters Waiting to greet Pelosi — and the atmosphere felt “like a countdown to the New Year,” was Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Lin Ching-yi. wrote on Facebook.

“I’m very happy that Speaker Pelosi came to show her support,” said Liu Yu-hsia, 72, who held a banner that read, “Speaker Pelosi, welcome to the Republic of Taiwan.”

Liu, who has advocated for Taiwan’s formal independence for decades, added: “We have nothing to do with China. We do not want to be united with them.

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Taipei 101, Taiwan’s tallest skyscraper, lit up with welcome messages for Pelosi in English and Chinese.

Elsewhere on the island, however, small groups of protesters, including those who support unification with China, trampled American flags, booed Pelosi and urged the American delegation to go home. One held a sign calling Pelosi the “American Witch.”

At a news conference with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, Pelosi was asked what she could offer to offset the potential costs to Taiwan — including economic retaliation from China — as a result of her visit.

she replied His visit was part of a broader U.S. effort to secure “better economic exchanges” with Taiwan, and he said “significant” Taiwanese businesses already planned to invest in manufacturing in the United States. He also praised Taiwan’s “ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit, brainpower, intellectual wealth” and called out the island’s technology sector. “A model.”

White House spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday that “China has positioned itself to take further steps” as a result of Pelosi’s visit — including more military exercises near Taiwan and “economic coercion” measures, he said. “We expect them to continue to operate over the long-term horizon,” he added.

On Thursday, China blacklisted two Taiwanese non-profits affiliated with Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Local reports Saying is in response to Pelosi’s visit. Lai Jui-lung, a lawmaker from Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party, told the Taipei Times that “Beijing’s bullying will achieve nothing more than fueling Taiwanese hostility toward China.” “We insist that the Communist regime in China be stopped before it falls into the abyss.”

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While most Taiwanese believe war is the last thing China wants, some still worry about the short-term effects of the visit.

Zamake Chang, 30, an engineer from Taoyuan, said he spent the day on Wednesday checking to see if any flights from Taiwan’s main airport were disrupted. “I am going abroad soon and I am very worried that Chinese military maneuvers will encircle us and I will not be able to go,” he said.

“Before the war in Ukraine started, people said that Russia would not invade,” he added. “Historically, there have been many wars that have started suddenly. So really, it’s very tense right now.

Annabelle Timsitt, Vic Chiang and Bei-Lin Wu contributed to this report.

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