Szijjártó Meets With China's Wang Yi in Budapest


Photo by Zoltán Máthé/MTI

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó met with Wang Yi, the head of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Foreign Affairs Commission, in Budapest on Monday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Szijjártó said Hungary's economy has "profited immensely" from the far-reaching, strategic cooperation established between Hungary and China in recent years and acknowledged Wang Yi's "significant contribution" to that cooperation.

He argued that Hungary has emerged stronger from crises it faced in recent years and pointed to the "indispensable role" played by Hungarian-Chinese cooperation in meeting those challenges. He noted that Hungary had purchased medical equipment and vaccines from China during the coronavirus pandemic, saving hundreds of thousands of lives, even as all of Europe was lining up for COVID jabs.

The minister recognised the scale of the impact local investments by Chinese companies have had on giving Hungary a leading role in the transformation of the automotive industry and noted that the largest ever investment in the country was announced by a Chinese company last year.

Beijing Appreciating Hungary's 'China-friendly' Policy

Wang Yi said ties between China and Hungary are "developing very well", in spite of the geographical distance between the countries. China and Hungary have mutual respect and trust for each other, they support each other in resolving difficulties, and ties between their leaders are "extraordinarily good", contributing to the strengthening of relations, he added.

Beijing greatly appreciates the Hungarian government's "China-friendly policy" and support for certain matters in international forums, he noted. China is also prepared to offer support for Hungary's sovereignty, security, and development, he added.

At plenary talks between the sides, Szijjártó and Wang Yi confirmed that Hungary and China are "on the side of peace" in the matter of Ukraine and both countries are ready to cooperate with other countries that take the same position in the interest of reaching a diplomatic solution to the conflict, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.

"It is entirely clear that human lives can only be saved with an immediate ceasefire and peace established through peace talks, which is why Hungary stands firmly on the side of peace," Szijjártó said.

"We are happy that China also stands on the side of peace and that China is pressing for a peaceful resolution," he added

Wang Yi said China and Hungary will "gladly work together with other peace-loving countries to bring an end to the current hostilities as soon as possible". He pressed for peace talks and diplomatic resolution between the opposing sides to reach "a sustainable solution acceptable to everyone".

He also welcomed shared views on a number of matters by Hungary and the Chinese government and expressed a desire to further strengthen cooperation with Hungary and the European Union.

Talks Underway With Chinese Companies About New Investments

Wang Yi praised Hungary for its active participation in China's Belt and Road Initiative, noting the upgrade of the Budapest-Belgrade rail line which is set to become part of a corridor for bringing Chinese goods to Europe.

"China will continue its friendly cooperation with Hungary. We will support Hungary in finding a path of development that fits its own strengths," he said.

Szijjártó said talks are underway with four big Chinese companies that could bring investments with a combined value of EUR 8 billion-10 bln to Hungary.

He welcomed Beijing's support for the upswing in investments and expanding bilateral trade which reached USD 12 bln last year. He noted that Hungary has been licensed to export more food products to China than any other country in the region.

Chinese travel companies have been cleared to organize group tours to Hungary with the lifting of pandemic restrictions, he said. So far, Hungary is just one of two countries in Europe and the only European Union member state to which the tour organizers can book travel, he added.

There are five flights a week between China and Hungary, he said.


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