Relations between the United States and China have plunged to their lowest level in decades due to the technology and trade war.
Chinese President Xi Jinping calls on former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to help mend U.S.-China relations which have plunged to their lowest level in decades amid tariff war and tensions over technology and shipping. security.
A letter from Xi to Schultz reported by the state-run Xinhua News Agency on Friday was a rare direct communication from the Chinese Supreme Leader to a figure in the foreign affairs community. Schultz opened the first Starbucks outlet in China in 1999 and is a frequent visitor to the country.
Xi wrote to Schultz “to encourage him, as well as Starbucks, to continue playing an active role in promoting China-US economic and trade cooperation and developing bilateral relations,” Xinhua reported. No text of the letter has been published.
Xinhua did not say whether the letter reflected a move to ask U.S. business leaders to help change policies after President-elect Joe Biden takes office next week.
Economists and political analysts say Biden will likely try to revive cooperation with Beijing on North Korea and other political issues. But little change on trade is expected due to widespread frustration in Washington over China’s human rights record and accusations of technology theft.
The Cabinet press office did not immediately respond to questions about what Xi wanted Schultz to do and whether he had contacted other U.S. business leaders.
Schultz, CEO of Starbucks until 2017 and Chairman until 2018, led an aggressive expansion that made China its largest market outside of the United States. Starbucks claims to have more than 4,700 stores and 58,000 employees in nearly 190 Chinese cities.
Schultz said in 2019 that he was considering running for president as an independent, but subsequently abandoned the idea.
Xinhua said Xi was responding to a letter from Schultz congratulating the Chinese leader on “completing a wealthy society” under his leadership, Xinhua said.