Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne (Image: AAP/AP/Rick Rycroft)

This is part two of an Inq series on China-Australia relations in the age of Trump. You can read the first part here.

Is there a chance there might be armed conflict between the United States and China -- even by accident -- before the US elections in 90 days? 

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd thinks so and has described the "strident, uncompromising, and seemingly unending" sabre-rattling between the two countries as creating the most dangerous moment in the relationship since the Taiwan Strait crises of the 1950s.