Ahead of Pelosi’s Expected Trip and Amid Chinese Threats, Quiet Defiance in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan — In Washington, there has been anxious debate over whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi should risk the visit. In Beijing, there have been anger and threats. In Taiwan, where Ms. Pelosi is expected to land late Tuesday, the new flare-up in tensions has been met with a subdued defiance.

Politicians from Taiwan’s two main political parties have offered support for the trip, a sentiment echoed by many in the self-ruled democracy of more than 23 million people, which China claims as its own. While China released videos of planes and missiles flying to menacing music, one popular meme in Taiwan remade Ms. Pelosi as a powerful Taoist goddess. A Taiwanese politician wagered a chicken cutlet giveaway over her visit.

Inured to living in one of the world’s most dangerous geopolitical flash points, Taiwanese people have largely taken the prospect of the visit in stride. That steely nonchalance belies a political reality that has been hardening over the past decade: Many in Taiwan have grown weary of China’s threats and crave support from the United States.

Ms. Pelosi’s trip, if carried out, will be the highest-level visit by an American official in 25 years, and a diplomatic coup, if mostly a symbolic one, for Taiwan. Such prominent demonstrations of international support are rare for Taiwan, which Beijing has systematically worked to isolate from global institutions and diplomatic recognition.

The talk of a visit has not been without its anxieties for Taiwan. On Tuesday morning, its military said it would strengthen combat readiness in anticipation of a potential response from China, while the island’s stock market fell almost 2 percent over geopolitical concerns about the trip that broadly dragged down global shares.

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Source: Dnyuz