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Asia Times Praises Hungary’s Approach to Chinese Relations

Hungary Today 2024.05.15.

As a pivotal nexus for East-West trade, Hungary is constructing an economic model geared towards serving the interests of its people. Budapest also actively facilitates East-West political and cultural exchange, whether initiated by Germany, the United States, or China.

Hirado.hu reports that Asia Times lauds Hungary’s strategic approach in an article assessing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent European tour.

The Chinese leader’s recent visit to Paris and Budapest underscored the enduring ties between Europe and China, with Hungary and France poised to act as vital links between the Far Eastern powerhouse and the old continent.

President Xi Jinping (R) and Viktor Orbán (L) in 2023. Photo: Facebook/Orbán Viktor

While some analysts initially speculated that President Xi’s visits were part of a divisive strategy to drive a wedge within Europe and alienate the EU from the U.S., recent developments suggest otherwise. The division in Europe appears to be primarily between those advocating for strengthened cooperation – or connectivity, as described by the news portal – with China, and those seeking to curb Beijing’s ambitions to become a global power.

Hungary, the article notes, has emerged as a leading force in bridging these disparities.

In recent years, both France and Hungary have advocated for a more robust European role in the evolving multipolar world order. While Paris has championed strategic autonomy, Budapest has pursued a national strategy focused on fostering interconnectivity.

Xi Jinping’s visit to Hungary resulted in the signing of 18 agreements, underscoring the growing economic ties between China and Europe. The surge in industrial development, fueled by foreign investment – not only through Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative” but also through various other channels – has been particularly evident in Hungary.

While European industry has faced challenges and lagged behind, with EU industrial production experiencing a decline of around 5.4 per cent between February 2023 and February 2024, Hungary has defied these trends.

Since 2010, Hungary has nearly doubled its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), bucking the downward trajectory seen elsewhere in the region.

Hungary’s historical legacy and strategic geographical location have positioned it as an early adopter of the shifting global power dynamics. Responding proactively, Budapest has charted a distinct course from the rest of the EU, prioritizing the strengthening of national industries through collaboration with various partners.

In a broader context, Hungary’s strategic economic model advocates for nurturing and leveraging the intricate relations between the West and the East, rather than severing or limiting them. This perspective has gained urgency in Europe, particularly in light of the economic stagnation witnessed across most EU member states following sanctions on energy imports from Moscow, jeopardizing the operations of numerous European manufacturers.

Maintaining and expanding economic openness is imperative for Europe to regain competitiveness, the article asserts, citing Hungary as an exemplar.

While the adoption of Hungary’s approach may be gradual, it is gaining traction. Recent statements by Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz echo this sentiment, underscoring the importance of peaceful competition and continued engagement with both the United States and China.

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Via hirado.hu; Featured Image: MTI / Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda / Benko Vivien Cher

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