Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (L) and Financial Secretary John Tsang attend a news conference held to clarify the decision on scaling down a housing project in Hong Kong, China September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying says he wants his team to stay focused on preparing policy blueprints. Meantime, media reports suggest one of his most senior aides, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, has other things on his mind: he wants his boss’s job.

Leung told the press this week that the main responsibility now for the government is to prepare for the annual policy address and budget. A change in leadership would do little to solve the problems Hong Kong now faces, including growing demands for greater — if not total — independence from China.

Tsang, a principle official appointed by Leung, has informed Beijing that he would contest the chief executive election set for March next year, local media HK01 and now TV reported, citing unidentified sources. His office declined to comment.

The finance minister, who was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Commercial Radio in July that he would run for the post of chief executive “if this can contribute to Hong Kong,” while describing it is a “bad job.”

Speculation that Tsang might stand in the race grew after Chinese President Xi Jinping shook hands with him during the G20 meeting held in Hangzhou in September. Some regarded this handshake as a gesture of recognition from the central leadership.