Chinese President Xi Jinping is ready for a change — specifically the transformation of the international system and China's role within it. In a 2016 speech before government ministers and provincial leaders, Xi provided an early signal of his intent: "China has become a major factor in changing the world political and economic landscapes. ... We need to work harder to turn our economic strength into international institutional authority."
To date, however, Xi has avoided taking the United States head-on in competition for global leadership. There is little evidence that he desires the responsibility such leadership entails; the world has yet to hear, for example, a Chinese proposal to meet the challenge of global terrorism, the refugee crisis or even climate change.