● 方恩格（Ross Darrell Feingold）／前美國共和黨海外部亞太區主席
二、台灣人如何表達他們的台灣味熱情？在今年前國務卿蓬佩奧訪台時，一位在民進黨黨內初選中角逐台中市議員的候選人大手筆刊登了一個戶外廣告看板，上面大大寫著對蓬佩奧的熱烈歡迎字樣。很可惜蓬佩奧當時並未造訪台中來親眼目睹這個看板，而這位候選人也落選了。台灣各界會再以什麼樣充滿台灣創意與人情味的方式，來表達他們對於裴洛西的歡迎，會比對於蓬佩奧更熱情嗎？台北101的燈牆是否會寫上「Thank you Speaker Pelosi（謝謝裴洛西議長）」？讓我們拭目以待。
四、蔡總統對裴洛西的談話內容。 蔡總統會圍繞的主題，不外乎就是她對所有訪台的外賓常說的話：站在民主同盟的立場、維護民主價值堅若磐石。除了中國問題，蔡總統與裴洛西之間有許多共通話題，如全民健保、婚姻平權、墮胎權、反死刑、氣候變遷政策、以及抗疫政策等議題。蔡總統可以聊的很多，但她絕對不會提起蔡政府與裴洛西的死對頭共和黨所建立的深刻友誼。例如最近駐美代表蕭美琴所參與由共和黨籍眾議員組成的中國工作小組（China Task Force）一事，這群高調支持台灣的共和黨眾議員與裴洛西極度不合。除了中國問題之外，這群共和黨眾議員與民進黨的政治立場可說是天壤之別。
● Ross Darrell Feingold／Former Asia Chairman, Republicans Abroad
Perhaps by the time this commentary is published, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi will already be in, or on her way to, Taiwan. Alternatively, perhaps she will have already cancelled the proposed visit. The uncertainty over the past ten days whether she will visit, ever since it was leaked to the Financial Times, has resulted in an extraordinary amount of media attention about China’s possible responses, President Joe Biden’s peculiar public statement that the U.S. military thinks the trip is not a good idea, speculation about what warnings Xi Jinping gave President Joe Biden during their teleconference on July 28, and a message on Truth Social from President Trump criticizing Pelosi for visiting Taiwan.
As usual when an American politician visits Taiwan, there is an enormous over reaction in both Taiwan and China, though in this case it is more sensitive for China because under the U.S. Constitution the House Speaker is second in the presidential line of succession after the vice president.
Why is the overreaction unnecessary? There is a precedent for a House Speaker’s visit, as House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited Taipei in 1997 and met President Lee Teng-hui. Pelosi is the outgoing speaker; Republicans are likely to win a majority in the House of Representatives in the November election, or, on the outside chance the Democrats retain the House majority, it is unlikely Pelosi would seek again to be the speaker. President Tsai spoke with Pelosi by phone when President Tsai transited the United States, and earlier this year Vice President William Lai had a videoconference with Pelosi. Thus, we should view Pelosi’s visit with these realities in mind.
Although Pelosi at times has had a high-profile role in China related issues such as Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang, she is not known for a significant role on Taiwan issues such as weapons sales, a possible free trade agreement, or the many Taiwan-friendly resolutions and legislation in the House. Pelosi also did not invite Tsai to address Congress, despite requests from Members of Congress that she do so.
The reality is, as we say in Mandarin when an outgoing politician uses taxpayer money to fund overseas travel, this trip is a “graduation tour” for Pelosi. It is also an attempt to mitigate the Republican talking point in this year’s mid-term election that the Democrats are not tough on China.
Some things to watch for if Pelosi visits Taiwan:
1. How Long Will Pelosi Stay? Newt Gingrich only visited for a few hours and did not stay overnight. If Pelosi doesn’t stay overnight, in this author’s opinion it would be humiliating for Taiwan, but Pelosi should at least enter Taipei and visit the Presidential Office, rather than President Tsai go to Songshan Airport like Tsai did in June 2021 to meet visiting US Senators.
2. Pelosi Adulation? The government has publicly welcomed the possibility that Pelosi will visit. Earlier this year when former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited, a Democratic Progressive Party candidate competing in a primary for city councilor in Taichung put a welcome message to Pompeo on a large outdoor billboard (Pompeo didn’t visit Taichung and the candidate later lost in the primary). Will the media, politicians and public similarly go overboard in Pelosi adulation, such as lighting up the Taipei 101 façade with a “thank you Speaker Pelosi” message as was done for Pompeo?
3. Will Pelosi Meet Opposition Parties: Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang, Chairman Eric Chu Li-luan echoed the government in welcoming Pelosi’s visit, even though some Kuomintang personalities accused Pelosi of coming to Taiwan to seek money. Kuomintang Washington Representative Alexander Huang told The New York Times that “Speaker Pelosi has many admirers in Taiwan” which is more a desperate attempt to obtain a meeting with Pelosi than an accurate assessment of Pelosi’s status in Taiwan. If Pelosi visits the Kuomintang but not the Taiwan People’s Party, it will show the latter has much work to do before the United States takes it seriously.
4. What Will President Tsai Say to Pelosi: President Tsai will say the usual things she says to visiting foreign politicians such as Taiwan and the United States are fellow democracies and have shared values. Separate from China issues, perhaps President Tsai will ingratiate herself with Pelosi by emphasizing the many policy views she shares with Pelosi such as national health care, marriage equality, abortion access, death penalty opposition, policies to address climate change, and for COVID-19 mask mandates and widespread use of vaccines. It is unlikely President Tsai will mention her government’s friendship with Republicans who detest Pelosi, such as the recent meeting Representative to the United States Bi-khim Hsiao had with the House Republican “China Task Force”, a group of Republican House members who support Taiwan, detest Pelosi, and have dramatically different views from the DPP on non-China issues.
5. What Will Speaker Pelosi Say to President Tsai? During his visit, Speaker Gingrich said the United States will defend Taiwan. It is unlikely Pelosi will say this, especially after Biden has several times said the United States will defend Taiwan only for his aides to later emphasize that U.S. policy towards Taiwan is unchanged. It is also unlikely Speaker Pelosi will invite President Tsai to address Congress in person, offer to encourage the Biden Administration to sell more weapons to Taiwan, express support for a free trade agreement, or otherwise say anything substantive beyond expressions of moral support for a fellow democracy.
Ultimately, unless there is a significant military action by China, Speaker Pelosi’s visit might turn out to be a non-event. One thing we can be certain of is that the excitement in Taiwan over Pelosi’s visit will be repeated for the next significant foreign dignitary to visit Taiwan. Basketball player Enes Freedom, expected to visit Taiwan later this year, should prepare accordingly!