China’s President Xi Jinping has asked former Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz to promote Washington-Beijing trade in a rare letter to a foreign business person, state media reported Thursday.
Xi replied to an earlier message from Schultz, calling on the multibillionaire to “continue to play an active role in promoting economic and trade cooperation between China and the US,” the official Xinhua News Agency said.
China will “provide wider space for companies from all over the world, including Starbucks and other American companies, to develop in China,” Xi wrote in his letter.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the letter was published by the state media, but it comes from the fact that superpower relations have bottomed out with bitter disputes over trade, technology, security and rights.
Starbucks, a ubiquitous sight in major Chinese cities, has opened over 4,700 cafes across the country since 1999.
Schultz, who resigned as chairman of the chain in 2018 but retains an honorary title with the company, had previously congratulated Xi on China’s transition into a “moderately prosperous society,” Xinhua said.
Relations between the US and China have become increasingly strained under Donald Trump’s administration.
Beijing and Washington have also argued over guilt for the Covid-19 pandemic and China’s human rights record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
However, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi has urged both sides to “resume dialogue” and “rebuild mutual trust” with the new US administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Xi and Schultz previously met at an official reception in Seattle during the Chinese leader’s state visit to the United States in 2015.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)