The head of Taiwan's main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), defended its "brave" outreach to Beijing on Sunday after a senior official visited China on a trip that was condemned by Taipei's government and upset even some party members.

China's military drills near the democratically governed island this month in response to a visit to Taipei by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were widely condemned in Taiwan, including by the KMT.

But the KMT's decision to send its deputy chairman, Andrew Hsia, to China on what the party said was a pre-arranged visit to the Taiwanese business community there shortly after the exercises began caused a storm of controversy.