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Nancy Pelosi Arrives in Taiwan, Heightens Tensions with China: Live Update

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credit…Ann Wang/Reuters

TAIPEI, Taiwan – News media and crowds gathered at Taipei airport on Tuesday to watch the arrival of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-level U.S. official to visit Taiwan for the first time in 25 years.

Huang Chaoyuan, a 53-year-old business owner, staked out an area near Songshan Airport to watch Pelosi’s plane land, calling the speaker’s visit a “historic moment.”

“I am very excited about her visit today. Because it shows that anyone can come here,” said Huang. She uses the abbreviation for the Chinese Communist Party. “This incident marks Taiwan’s independence.”

Videographer Henry Zhang, 32, who was at the airport to witness Pelosi’s landing, marveled at the novelty of seeing the arrival of such a prominent US lawmaker.

“It felt like catching a rare Pokémon,” he said.

He said he was not concerned that the visit could lead to military conflict. “I don’t think the war ever happened. Everyone goes on with their lives,” he said.

A video provided by Tibetan activist Tashi Tsering showed people gathering outside the Grand Hyatt Taipei, where Pelosi was staying, on Tuesday night. Many of them held up banners reading, “Taiwanese people welcome House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” “Taiwan supports,” and “Taiwan ≠ China.”

Outside the hotel, dozens of unification supporters protested Mr Pelosi’s visit. Some yelled at Pelosi to “get out of Taiwan,” while others held up banners denouncing her.

“It’s bittersweet to see Pelosi land,” said Sam Lin, a recycling company owner, among the crowd. “While it is sad to see tensions rising across the Strait, I am also excited that reunification with China is becoming more achievable.”

Mr Lin, 50, added: “I don’t want to see war, but the current cross-strait relations have reached another stage.”

credit…Amy Chang Chen/New York Times

In contrast to the protests, Taipei 101 in the capital’s central business district, once the tallest building in the world and a major landmark on the city’s skyline, has been lit up with messages welcoming Pelosi. I was.

In Taiwan, many are accustomed to threats from China claiming the island as their territory. Disputes between Washington and Beijing over the president’s visit drew low-key attention before Tuesday. A political adviser close to said he welcomed visits by U.S. officials.

In a show that many in Taiwan are fed up with the Chinese threat, Alexander Huang, a senior official of the China-friendly Nationalist Party, welcomed Pelosi’s visit, calling Pelosi “rich.” I said I had a schedule. small island.

During her visit, Pelosi will visit Taiwan’s legislature and meet with President Tsai Ing-wen, according to Taiwan lawmakers and local officials. She will also attend her banquet at the Taipei Guest House and visit the National Museum of Human Rights.

Huang said the low-key approach to the visit reflected plans designed to avoid exacerbating an already tense situation with China.

“They tried their best not to antagonize the other side, make no statements to the outside world, and keep the situation in the Taiwan Strait from becoming too tense,” he said.

He said he was most worried about the military response from mainland China, especially what China would do after Pelosi leaves. He said China could move to further isolate Taiwan internationally. In recent years, China has lured several countries to recognize Taiwan as a country and cut it off from major international bodies such as the World Health Organization.

On Tuesday, Taiwan’s military said it would step up combat readiness in anticipation of a potential response from China.