“We must stand by Taiwan, which is an island of resilience,” Ms. Pelosi said in an opinion article published on the Washington Post website after she landed. In the article, she called Taiwan “a leader in governance,” a “leader in peace, security and economic dynamism” and a “vibrant, robust democracy.”
In Taiwan’s central business district, Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building and a major landmark in the city’s skyline, was lit with messages welcoming Ms. Pelosi, the highest-level American official to go to the island since 1997, when Newt Gingrich, then speaker of the House, made a visit.
Ms. Pelosi’s refusal to be dissuaded from making the trip is in keeping with her decades-long efforts to hold China accountable for its actions. She has repeatedly pushed for legislation to benefit Hong Kong and Tibet; hosted the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader; and urged a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in Beijing.
Her forceful stand on Tuesday was echoed in a rare statement of bipartisan support issued moments after her arrival: More than two dozen Republican senators, including Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, wrote that her travel was “consistent with the United States’ One China policy to which we are committed.”
“She’s a high-ranking official in the U.S. government. But it is not unusual,” said Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I was there three months ago with five other senators. We have a longstanding history of visiting Taiwan. And so we can’t let the Chinese say who can and cannot visit Taiwan.”
But the speaker’s arrival was greeted with scorn by Chinese officials, who accused Ms. Pelosi of undermining China’s sovereignty. And her visit comes as China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has made it clearer than any of his predecessors that he sees unifying Taiwan with China to be a primary goal of his rule.