President Xi Jinping called on Starbucks Corp. to help improve China-US ties, striking a business-friendly tone as the Biden administration prepares to take over in Washington.
“I hope Starbucks will make active efforts to promote China-US economic and trade cooperation and the development of bilateral relations,” Xi said in reply to a letter from Chairman Emeritus Howard Schultz. Xi’s letter was dated Jan. 6 and published Thursday by the official Xinhua News Agency.
“China has embarked on a new journey of comprehensively building a modern socialist country, which will provide a broader space for companies from all over the world, including Starbucks and other American companies, to develop in China,” Xi wrote.
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Chinese leaders have often tried to utilize ties with US business leaders to improve US-China relations, and have repeatedly stressed the role of commerce as a stabilizer in bilateral ties. Relations between the two countries have worsened over the four years of the Trump presidency, a major challenge for President-elect Joe Biden.
Schultz’s letter congratulated Beijing on the near completion of the plan to build a “moderately prosperous society,” and expressed respect for the Chinese people and Chinese culture, Xinhua said.
Schultz previously said that China was a competitor of the U.S. rather than an enemy. He stepped down from his position as executive chairman of the coffee giant in 2018 and is estimated to be worth $5.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He considered running for U.S. president in 2020 as an independent.
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