19:02 GMT03 March 2021
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    China's leader has contacted an unlikely source in a bid to build ties with Washington following the Trump administration's sour relationship with Beijing.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping has encouraged the world's largest coffeehouse chain Starbucks to help improve economic and trade cooperation between the United States and China.

    He made the comments in a letter to Starbucks' former Chairman Howard Schultz. The correspondence, dated 6 January, was made public on Thursday.

    According to China Daily, the Chinese head of state said that the "new journey embarked upon by China of fully building a modern socialist country will provide broader space for enterprises from across the world, including Starbucks and other US companies."

    Xi also wrote that he hoped Starbucks and Schultz himself "will make efforts to promote China-US economic and trade cooperation as well as bilateral relations."

    In a statement issued on Friday, Schultz didn't directly address Xi's request to help repair relations between the US and China, saying instead that it was "a great honour" to receive the letter from China's president, AP reports.

    During Donald Trump's presidency, America found itself locked in a trade war with China, which witnessed the US Department of Commerce placing prominent Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE, along with over 70 other firms, on an entity list, restricting China's access to key US technologies and requiring them to have licences for business with American firms.

    Relations between the two countries soured further during the global coronavirus pandemic, which Trump blamed China for on numerous occasions.

    relations, Starbucks, Xi Jinping, China, US
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