China is building its way to displace the US when it comes to global leadership. The latest major step is the “Belt and Road” initiative, which officially kicked off this week, aimed at building infrastructure to connect China to a range of Asian countries. It’s based on the old Silk Road, overland from China to Europe, and on ancient maritime trade routes that run to Africa and Europe.
Today, China’s “peaceful rise” is also associated primarily with economic growth rather than the assertion of military force. China can (and does) say it wants to be a different kind of global superpower, one that relies on building rather than bombing.