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Ambassador Expects Hungary to Pursue “Rational and Pragmatic Policy” towards China

MTI-Hungary Today 2024.05.02.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Chinese President Xi Jinping in China in October 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s official visit to Hungary next week will be a milestone in the history of relations between the two countries and may give new impetus to strengthening cooperation, as well as have important global implications, said Gong Tao, China’s Ambassador to Hungary, at a press conference in Budapest on Tuesday.

The Chinese President will arrive in Hungary on May 8 at the invitation of President Tamás Sulyok and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. During his first trip to Europe since 2019, Xi Jinping will visit France and Serbia, in addition to Hungary. The Chinese Head of State last made an official visit to Hungary 20 years ago, said Gong Tao.

During the state visit,

Xi Jinping will hold talks with Viktor Orbán and Tamás Sulyok on bilateral relations, China-Europe relations, as well as international and regional issues affecting the two countries.

The Ambassador said that Xi Jinping’s visit coincides with the 75th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Chinese President will also sign a number of bilateral agreements during his visit.

Gong Tao, China’s Ambassador to Hungary, during the press conference. Photo: MTI/Bruzák Noémi

In recent years, under the leadership of Xi Jinping and Viktor Orbán, China and Hungary have developed a comprehensive strategic partnership, and this cooperation can move forward in ever wider areas, the diplomat noted. He added that the political foundations for the pragmatic development of relations between the two countries are in place, and China and Hungary mutually respect each other’s development path. He stressed that the One Belt, One Road initiative coincided with the Hungarian government’s Eastern Opening policy, and

within this framework, both sides are interested in deepening cooperation, new investments in infrastructure, telecommunication, chemical, and electric vehicle industries, in addition to renewable energy, which can give a new impetus to economic relations.

In response to a question, the Ambassador said that the development of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line is one of the flagship projects of the One Belt, One Road initiative. Once completed, the journey time between the two capitals will be reduced from eight to three hours. He added that the geographical location of Szeged was also an important factor in the selection of BYD‘s first European factory. Turning to economic relations, he said that Hungary has been China’s number one investment destination for years and its biggest foreign trade partner alongside the European Union. The Chinese diplomat noted that tourism relations could be helped by the fact that from March, Hungarian tourists will be able to travel to China without a visa, and from the summer, the number of direct flights between the two countries could rise to 20, the highest among the countries in the region.

In response to a question, he said that

Beijing expects from the Hungarian EU Presidency that the Hungarian side will pursue a rational and pragmatic policy towards China and will encourage other EU countries to do the same.

He added that China always takes a long-term view of its relations with Europe, and like Hungary, supports interconnectivity and opposes creating blocs and an ideology-based approach. He recalled that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Hungarian-Chinese Bilingual Primary School. To mark the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations, several cultural events will be held in the coming months, Gong Tao concluded.

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Via MTI, Featured image: Facebook/Orbán Viktor

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