As tensions flare over Taiwan, China and the United States are both trying to lay down firm markers. A crucial question is whether the nuclear-armed powers know what level of pressure is just right.
Among the slew of disputes between the world’s two largest economies, Taiwan is often seen as the only one that could bring hot conflict as Beijing considers the self-ruling US-aligned democracy a province awaiting reunification.
This month, a record number of Chinese airplanes have entered the air defense zone of Taiwan, whose defense minister warned that Beijing would be able to launch a full-scale invasion in 2025.
US allies have meanwhile stepped up, with Japan resolutely backing Taiwan, including its bid to join a regional trade pact, and Australia entering the new three-way AUKUS partnership with the United States and Britain widely viewed as a response to a rising…