Military tension is at the core of the Taiwan conflict. It is also a key factor for Washington to contemplate intervention. Since 2016 the level of this tension has risen due to Taipei's renunciation of the 1992 consensus and more vigorous U.S. play of the Taiwan card. This article argues that despite the war rhetoric, the three parties still strive to avert overt militarization of the conflict, as they address more urgent internal and external challenges. Beijing's Taiwan policy is still maintaining peace through threat of war amid the PLA's combat buildup. However, the trilateral relationship has entered uncharted waters leading to the near future, at least 2020. It is worth closely watching if the rising political tension will lead to a military showdown.