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Xi Jinping

1 - Xi Jinping
President, People’s Republic of China

No country is shaping Washington defense and economic policies more than China, the United States’ leading trading partner and increasingly, a global rival. And no individual has more impact on China’s policies than Xi, who took over this year as China’s president, chief of its Communist Party and head of its military commission. He has raised the stakes, demonstrating a willingness to test the will of his international rivals. For more than 20 years, Beijing has methodically invested in its military might and sought ways to coerce its neighbors into territorial and economic concessions and to minimize US influence in the region. Late last month, China declared an air defense identification zone over most of the East China Sea, the latest chess move in a territorial dispute with Japan, and one that raised tensions across the region, with implications for South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. With the world’s second-largest economy and largest military behind him, Xi has an unparalleled capacity to influence US defense investment and strategy.

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