Members of Tampa Bay's Taiwanese community are following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. 

What You Need To Know

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years

  • A board member of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay says the visit can be a good way for U.S. leaders to gain insight into Taiwan's democracy, but he hopes China doesn't retaliate

  • Members of Tampa Bay's Taiwanese community are following the visit

See previous coverage here

"As Americans, American citizen, I will say we exercise our freedom. We have the choice to visit whoever we choose to make friends with. As a...person who was born and grew up in Taiwan before graduate school, I think that's a positive direction to see how people exercise their freedom and practice democracy for 35 years," said Kevin Wang, a board member of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay.

Wang said he's spent more than half of his life in Florida, but he was born and raised in Taiwan. He came to the U.S. to attend graduate school at Florida State University in Tallahassee in 1999. 

"I think people in Taiwan, if you ever have interaction with them on the island or if there's an American ever living or spent some time on that island, they can quickly tell you that people in Taiwan are from Taiwan - very generous, very nice, very low crime rate. Hospitality is one of the things that they usually talk about," Wang said. 

Wang is an associate professor in criminology at the University of South Florida's St. Petersburg campus. He spent six months in Taiwan, where all of his relatives still live, last year as a Fulbright Scholar. It was the first time his children got to experience the country. 

"It was amazing to the kids to experience different festivals and cultures," Wang said. 

When it comes to Pelosi's visit, Wang said there are a few things he's looking forward to see highlighted.

"Taiwan actually has the first elected female president in East Asia. So, we have both the visitor is a female, Nancy Pelosi, and the current president is a female president. We are very proud of that," Wang said. "I probably want to say that something I hope not to see is some military actions or reactions from China."

China claims the self-ruled island and has said it will conduct military maneuvers in response to Pelosi's visit. 

"Nobody wants to see a war. That will be a lose-lose situation," said Wang. "We will still want to have continued economic growth on both sides and hopefully, one day, we can have better understanding and live in a peaceful way."