Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a letter Friday to former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to ask for help with US-China relations.
The letter was announced by the Chinese state-run media outlet Xinhua, according to a report by the Associated Press (AP). Direct communication between the Chinese leader and an American corporate executive is a rare event.
Xinhua reportedly said Xi wrote to Schultz “to encourage him and Starbucks to continue to play an active role in promoting Chinese-U.S. economic and trade cooperation and the development of bilateral relations.”
Schultz said in a statement Friday that it was “a great honor” to receive the letter and that Xi was replying to a letter Schultz recently sent him alongside a Chinese-translated copy of the former CEO’s book, according to the Associated Press. The Starbucks Corporation, which Schultz retired from in 2018, said it had no comment for the AP. (RELATED: MIT Professor Who Received $19 Million In Federal Grants Is Charged Over Undisclosed Ties To China)
China is Starbucks’ second-biggest market and Schultz is a frequent visitor to the country, according to the Associated Press.
President Xi Jinping has asked former CEO Howard Schultz of Starbucks, one of the most prominent American brands in China, to help repair U.S.-Chinese relations amid a tariff war and tension over technology and security. https://t.co/VOFtoBPNR8
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 15, 2021
“I truly believe Starbucks’ best days are ahead in China and that the values of creativity, compassion, community and hard work will guide the company toward an even greater business and community contribution, while continuing to build common ground for cooperation between our two countries,” Schultz reportedly said in his statement.
Schultz had previously considered an independent 2020 presidential campaign before announcing that he would not be running. The communication between Xi and Schultz comes as the United States and China are engaged in fierce opposition on multiple fronts.