Pelosi Meets President of Taiwan: Live Updates

Protesters for and against Chairman Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan gathered outside the Grand Hyatt hotel on Tuesday evening, where she will be staying during her visit.

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The news media and crowds gathered at Taipei airport on Tuesday to watch the arrival of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the United States’ most senior official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.

Huang Chao-yuan, a 53-year-old business owner, cordoned off the area near Songshan airport to watch Ms. Pelosi’s plane land, calling the speaker’s visit a “historic moment.”

“I am very excited about her visit today because it is an example that shows that the United States does not have to discuss with the CCP, she can come here if she wants, and whoever invites Taiwan can come here,” said Ms. Huang, using the acronym for the Chinese Communist Party. “This incident demonstrates Taiwan’s independence.”

Henry Chang, 32, a videographer who was at the airport to witness Mrs. Pelosi’s landing, marveled at the novelty of seeing the arrival of such a high-profile US legislator.

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

He said he was not concerned that the visit could lead to military conflict. “I feel like there just can’t be a war — everyone gets on with their lives,” he said.

A video by a Tibetan activist, Tashi Tsering, showed people gathering Tuesday evening outside the Grand Hyatt Taipei, where Ms Pelosi was expected to spend the night. Some of them held up banners that read: “Taiwan public welcomes US house speaker Nancy Pelosi”, “Taiwan helps” and “Taiwan ≠ China”.

Outside the hotel, several dozen people who supported unification with China protested against Ms Pelosi’s visit, some demanding that she “get out of Taiwan” and some holding banners denouncing her.

“I feel bittersweet when I witness the landing of Pelosi,” said one man in the crowd, Sam Lin, the owner of a recycling company. “It’s sad to see rising tensions across the strait, but I’m also excited to see our reunification with China becoming more feasible.”

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

Credit…Amy Chang Chien/The New York Times

Contrary to the protest, in the central business district of the capital Taipei, 101 – once the tallest building in the world and a major landmark in the city’s skyline – was lit up with messages welcoming Ms. Pelosi.

In Taiwan, many are used to threats from China, which claims the island as its own territory. A stalemate between Washington and Beijing over the speaker’s journey received subdued attention before Tuesday. Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, kept quiet in the days before Ms Pelosi’s arrival, although political advisers close to her have said they welcome the visit from US officials.

Signaling how many people in Taiwan have grown tired of China’s threats, Alexander Huang, a top official at China-friendly Kuomintang, said he welcomed Ms. Pelosi’s visit and that she had a “rich” schedule ahead of her on the island.

According to a Taiwanese lawmaker and a local official, Ms. Pelosi will visit the Taiwanese legislature and meet President Tsai Ing-wen during her visit. She will also attend a banquet at the Taipei Guest House and visit the National Human Rights Museum.

Mr Huang said the understated approach to the visit reflected planning aimed at preventing the already tense situation with China from worsening.

“They made no statement to the outside world, in an effort not to antagonize the other side, and did their best not to make the situation in the Taiwan Strait too tense,” he said.

He said he was most concerned about the military response from mainland China, in particular what China might do after Ms. Pelosi left. He said it was possible China would take steps to further isolate Taiwan internationally. In recent years, China has lured several countries that recognize Taiwan as a country and cut it off from major international bodies such as the World Health Organization.

On Tuesday, the Taiwanese military said it would bolster combat readiness pending a possible response from China.

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