The US remains committed to supporting Taiwan’s defence, despite delays in arms supplies attributed to the war in Ukraine . Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Washington’s focus would not be taken off the Indo-Pacific, with more defence spending budgeted for the region. Taiwan howitzers delayed, ‘crowded out’ of US production lines “We’re not concerned … that a focus on Ukraine is somehow going to take our focus, our eye off the Indo-Pacific or specifically our obligations on the Taiwan Relations Act, ” he said on Thursday. The US switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 but remains committed under the legislation to providing backup to the island’s defence, which includes arms sales. On Monday, Taipei said it had been notified that next year’s delivery of M109A6 Paladin medium self-propelled howitzer artillery systems from the US had been delayed, with production lines “crowded out” by weapons for Ukraine. Taipei has also said an order for Stinger missiles from the US might not be delivered this year, as Ukraine seeks more arms to repel Russia’s invasion. Kirby said the materiel sent to Ukraine so far had been provided under drawdown authorities, from existing supplies. “Right now, the focus of that is long range [weapons], artillery and all of that because of the Donbas region. And that support, which we continue to provide, does not affect in any way our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act or the other ways in which we’re supporting Taiwan.” Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, opposes formal relations between Taipei and other countries. It also considers US arms sales to the island a violation of its sovereignty which damages cross-strait stability. Military drills targeting the island have been stepped up, with one in mid-April coinciding with a visit to Taipei by a US congressional delegation. On Thursday, the island’s defence ministry said two Y8 aircraft, one KJ-500, two H-6 bombers and one Ka-28 helicopter from the mainland were spotted in its southwestern air defence identification zone. In a phone conversation in April, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe told US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin the US should not underestimate China’s determination and capability in defending its sovereignty. Wei warned that the Taiwan issue would have a subversive effect on China-US relations if it was not handled properly. Admiral Charles Richard, the head of US Strategic Command, said on Wednesday that Beijing intended to have the military capability to “reunify Taiwan by 2027”. In his remarks, Kirby made a distinction between capability and intention but said Washington was committed to the island’s defence. “The support that we provide Ukraine is in complete keeping with the communiques and the assurances, but just as critically, the Taiwan Relations Act. And that is the provision and sales of military systems to help Taiwan in its self-defence and that’s the focus,” he said.