Chinese President Xi Jinping asked former Starbucks President Howard Schultz to help promote Washington-Beijing trade in a rare missive to a foreign businessman, state media reported Thursday. .
Xi, responding to an earlier message from Schultz, urged the multi-billionaire to “continue to play an active role in promoting Sino-US economic and trade cooperation,” the state-run Xinhua news agency said.
China “will provide a wider space for businesses around the world, including Starbucks and other US companies, to expand into China,” Xi wrote in his letter.
It was not immediately clear why the letter was published by state media, but it comes as relations between the superpowers have hit a low point with bitter disputes over trade, technology, security and rights.
Starbucks, a ubiquitous site in major Chinese cities, claims to have opened more than 4,700 cafes across the country since 1999.
Schultz, who stepped down as chairman of the channel in 2018 but retains an honorary title with the company, previously congratulated Xi on China’s transition to a “moderately prosperous society,” Xinhua said.
US-China relations have grown increasingly strained under Donald Trump’s administration.
Beijing and Washington have also quarreled over responsibility for the Covid-19 pandemic and China’s human rights record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
But senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi called on the two sides to “rekindle 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 title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)