February 22, 2023
BEIJING – Relations with Budapest hailed as a ‘model’ by senior diplomat Wang Yi
Senior diplomat Wang Yi said that China and Hungary should build the momentum and further strengthen high-quality cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, as he arrived on the fourth stop of his weeklong European tour.
Wang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks when meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest on Sunday.
China is willing to advance friendly exchanges with Hungary in an all-around way and continuously deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, said Wang.
Hungary signed a cooperation document with China on the BRI in 2015, becoming the first European Union member state to do so. Over the years, the BRI has aligned well with Hungary’s “Opening to the East” policy and major cooperation projects, including the Chinese-built Hungary-Serbia railway, have achieved steady progress.
The two countries agreed in December to establish the intergovernmental Belt and Road cooperation committee to further invigorate the development of bilateral relations.
Lauding bilateral ties as a “model “for international relations, Wang said that China is willing to work with Hungary to promote democracy in international relations and advance the concept of a multipolar world.
Wang also praised Hungary’s active support for the development of China-EU relations, saying that this not only serves the interests of the Chinese and Hungarian peoples, but also “the fundamental and long-term interests of Europe”.
While pledging unwavering commitment to a friendly policy toward China, Orban said that Hungary attaches great importance to cooperation with China in various fields and will continue to make unremitting efforts to promote the development of China-EU relations.
He expressed gratitude for China’s selfless assistance to his country and particularly gave credit for Chinese vaccines, saying that they have saved many lives.
China gave priority to Hungary by providing 5 million doses of vaccines after the outbreak of COVID-19 and Hungary took the lead in approving and using Chinese vaccines, Chinese Ambassador to Hungary Qi Dayu told The Budapest Times last year.
Cui Hongjian, director of the China Institute of International Studies’ European Studies Department, said the high-level and high-quality development of China-Hungary relations will enhance and diversify ties between China and the EU.
Amid voices from certain forces in the EU calling for decoupling, isolation or the breaking of ties with China, Orban, when addressing an annual news conference in Budapest in December, dismissed such narratives as “huge mistakes”. He warned that Europe would lose competitiveness without cooperation with Beijing.
China is Hungary’s largest source of foreign investment. Data shows that bilateral trade between the two countries bucked the trend of the pandemic and reached $15.71 billion in 2021, up 34.5 percent year-on-year.
Noting that bilateral ties enjoy a solid foundation in various fields, Cui said that China and Hungary have common interests for cooperation and close coordination in international affairs.
On the Ukraine issue, both Wang and Orban stressed the need to keep calm and called for the parties concerned to make the right choices that conform to the norms of international relations and Europe’s long-term interests in order to achieve peace in the continent at an early date.