Xi Jinping writes to former Starbucks chairman for help amid strained US ties

In a letter to former Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz China’s President Xi Jinping has asked for help to promote trade between Washington and Beijing, according to state media on Thursday.
Xi, responding to an earlier message from Schultz, urged the multi-billionaire to “continue to play an active role in promoting China-US economic and trade cooperation”, the official Xinhua news agency said.
China will “provide a broader space for companies from all over the world, including Starbucks and other American companies, to develop in China”, Xi wrote in his letter.
This comes as relations between US and China have reached a nadir with bitter disputes over trade, tech, security and rights.
Schultz, who stepped down as chairman of Starbucks in 2018 but retains an honorary title at the company, had previously congratulated Xi on China’s transition into “moderately prosperous society”, Xinhua said.
US-China ties have grown increasingly strained under the administration of Donald Trump.
Beijing and Washington have also sparred over blame for the Covid-19 pandemic and China’s human rights record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
But China’s top diplomat Wang Yi has called for both sides to “restart the dialogue” and “rebuild mutual trust” with the incoming US administration of president-elect Joe Biden.